Gov. DeSantis says 2020 will be the 'Year of the Teacher'

Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 4:50 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

October 29, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told the state's editors and reporters Tuesday that teacher pay should be at the top of lawmakers agenda for 2020, but his plan to raise starting salaries is already raising some red flags.

On Monday,


$1 billion for an across the board, 10% raise for teachers and the rest to improve buildings and add classes.

“We’ve watched two decades of of disinvestment by legislature after legislature, governor after governor,” said President of the Florida Education Association Fedrick Ingram.

Desantis said he wants lawmakers to make 2020, "the Year of the Teacher."

But the governor’s not endorsing the unions 10% pay hike or the other $1.4 billion for improvements.

“Let’s not pretend there’s not politics involved in this. I mean, just a fact of the matter. I’m a Republican, they’re not. And so, what I’m doing is never going to be enough, and my job is not to do what the union wants. It’s what’s best for education,” said DeSantis.

And Senate President Bill Galvano threw a little cold water on both plans.

Revenue is going to be tight and teacher pay is a local responsibility.

“We can make a commitment to a specific number at this point, until we fully understand where we are budget wise. How the mechanics of these things work,” said Galvano.

The governor, who said teachers said starting teachers would get $47,500, now says no teacher will make less than that.

“That’s more attractive at $47,500 than it is at $31,000 or $40,000. It just is,” said DeSantis.

The governor’s approval rating is over 70%.

The question he’ll have to answer is how much of that political capital does he want to spend to make 2020 the year of the teacher.

The governor’s plan to raise minimum salaries will cost taxpayers just over $600 million a year.