TALLAHASSEE – Florida Gov. Rick Scott, concerned that one of his main initiatives on education has gotten stalled, wrote school superintendents across the state today and asked them to move quickly to approve pay raises for teachers.
Scott, who came under fire for pushing cuts to education during his first year in office, pushed the Republican-controlled Legislature this past spring to set aside $480 million to pay for a $2,500 across the board pay raise.
Legislators agreed to the spending request, but they gave school districts leeway in how the raises could be handed out. So far less than 20 of the state’s 67 school districts have not completed negotiations with local teacher unions on the pay raises.
“Florida teachers deserve a salary increase, and they should have the benefit of knowing their new salary level as soon as possible so they can best plan for their future,” Scott wrote.
Scott in his letter stated that he has asked Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to help districts to find a quick resolution to pay raise negotiations.
While many districts are still negotiating pay raises those school boards that have approved pay packages are not giving out the money in the way Scott proposed.
Some districts have used the money to give out raises to both administrators and teachers, while some teachers are getting less than the $2,500 the governor wanted.
Republican legislators wanted districts to primarily link raises to performance but only two districts took that approach.