TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov Ron DeSantis told the states editors and reporters Tuesday that teacher pay should be at the top of lawmaker’s agenda for 2020, but his plan to raise starting salaries is already raising some red flags.
On Monday, Florida’s largest teachers union asked for $2.4 billion.
One billion for an across the board ten percent raise for teachers and with the rest to improve buildings and add classes.
“We’ve watched two decades 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 ten percent 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 saying 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.
Governor DeSantis who said teachers said starting teachers would get $47,500 now says no teacher will make less than that.
“That’s more attractive at forty-seven five than it is at thirty-one or forty. It just is,” said DeSantis.
The Governor’s approval rating is over 70 percent.
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.