TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is hoping legislators will approve a $602 million education budget, as Tampa Bay area teachers are fighting for increased salaries.
The Pinellas County School Board reached an agreement last month for a salary increase. Prior to that, the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association proposed a pay scale to the Hillsborough County School Board.
Under Gov. DeSantis’ proposed plan, the minimum salary for public school teachers would be $47,500. The plan aims to attract more teachers to the Sunshine State, which currently faces a significant shortage of educators.
Florida currently has around 3,578 teaching vacancies reported in the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Florida Education Association. That’s 700 more than this time last year.
Teaching vacancies by year
Take a look at how full-time teaching vacancies have been trending in Florida. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.
Source: Florida Education Association
Florida currently ranks No. 46 for some of the lowest teacher salaries in the nation, according to the National Education Association.
Hillsborough County schools will receive the third-highest amount of the proposed budget. They would be just behind Miami-Dade County and Broward County.
DeSantis’ proposed budget allocation
Here is how much of the proposed $602 million public school budget each of the Tampa Bay Counties would get. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.Source: Florida Department of Education
Along with increasing teacher salaries for the state’s 101,000 public school teachers, the budget also proposes the highest per-student spending: $7,979. That’s up more than $300 from $7,672.
“With a strong economy and plenty of jobs available in other fields, unfortunately too many college graduates are unwilling to enter the teaching profession,” Desantis previously said in a statement. “My proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500 will help alleviate this shortage and elevate the teaching profession to the level of appreciation it deserves. This is long overdue, and I look forward to working with the legislature to make this a reality.”
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