Andrew Gillum proposes $50K starting salaries for teachers – Florida Politics

Andrew Gillum proposes $50K starting salaries for teachers

Responding to Gov. Rick Scott‘s reported comments Tuesday that there was little to be done about Florida’s relatively low teacher salaries, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said Wednesday he would propose a statewide minimum starting salary of $50,000.

“When Gov. Scott blames ‘the system’ for low teacher pay, Floridians should ask him to look in the mirror. He and the Republican Party have enshrined a ‘system’ of teacher pay that pays them $10,000 a year less than the national average,” Gillum said in a news release issued by his campaign.

Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee and developer Chris King of Winter Park in seeking the Democratic primary nomination to run for governor in 2018. The leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow and state Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater.

“When I’m governor, I will work to pass a law ensuring no district can set a starting salary below $50,000,” he continued. “Every year legislation is filed to give teachers the raise they deserve, Governor Scott is nowhere to be found. Our teachers do some of the most important work on the planet, and we need to pay them as such.”

According to the Florida Department of Education, the average salary for all 174,000 teachers in Florida last year was $47,858. That’s with an average of 11 years of experience. The average salaries per county ranged from $34,000 in Holmes County to $56,000 in Monroe County. Data are not yet available for the 2017-18 school year.

Gillum cited an Associated Press story that quoted Scott in a roundtable discussion in Tallahassee as saying there was little he could do about teacher salaries because they are set locally, under the system. He was responding to a Gadsden teacher who said it was hard for schools to keep teachers because of the pay.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

6 Comments

  1. It is totally the GOP’s and the voters’ fault that teachers are not paid fairly. The GOP is always promoting lower taxes, and the public goes for it hook, line, and sinker.
    The same thing is going on in the Whitehouse; where do you think the money comes from people?

  2. Everyone seems to forget that Rick Scott chose to take 3% of teacher salaries under the guise of securing an already solvent pension fund – while at the same time reducing taxes for the rich and corporations. If politicians really want to increase teacher salaries, a good start would be to discontinue taking 3% of teachers already low salaries.

  3. You are all a special kind of stupid. Pensions can crumble at any time. Just ask the many of the Labor Unions who lost their pensions because of poor investments and being scammed by big businesses, stock market crashes. People who thought they would have 2,500-3,000 a month to live off of now have a 900 a month pension. Nothing is a guarantee. Federal minimum wage was raised to $7.25 for entry level jobs in 2009. Florida Minimum wage is $8.10 and should not be made $15 an hour to flip hamburgers at McDonald. You want a job making $15 or more an hour then go to trade school, college and better yourself. Minimum wage was set so companies pay a fair wage to people entering the workforce. It isn’t meant to raise a family on. There are other states that their minimum wages is what the Federal Minimum wage is $7.25 and won’t raise it unless the Federal Government raises minimum wage. In 2009 raised the minimum wage to 7.25
    and obummer never thought to give another raise to minimum wage in the 8 years he was president.

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