2020 Session Opening Day: Bill Galvano says teacher pay proposal still being worked out
Senate President Bill Galvano

$47,500 may not be the final number.

Senate President Bill Galvano addressed media on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the 2020 Legislative Session began.

Among the subjects in his nearly 11 minute briefing: a proposed teacher pay raise that Gov. Ron DeSantis wants.

The Governor pitched a starting salary of $47,500.

Galvano said last year that “negotiation” would be required to strike a balance between the Governor’s position and that of the Legislature, and on Tuesday he held to the position.

“I don’t think we’ve committed to any number. What I have said is that we understand the importance of teacher pay, but there’s also the big picture number of what we can afford to put into the budget.”

“It’s consistent with where we’ve been as a Senate to make these substantial investments into traditional public education, but there’s a lot of mechanics to shore up before they get done,” Galvano added.

The Senate Republican caucus has what could be considered a high-profile schism on the question.

Sen. Rob Bradley, the Fleming Island Senator who chairs the appropriations committee, was by DeSantis’ side as he rolled out the proposal in his native Clay County.

Bradley has filed a bill (SB 440) to revoke the teacher “Best and the Brightest” bonus program that the gubernatorial plan would replace.

He is confident that movement will happen, but the parameters of such are contingent.

A new bill from Senate Education Chair Manny Diaz would potentially adjust that proposal, though details are still being ironed out of what can be seen as the Senate counter.

Likewise adding uncertainty: the House process.

House Speaker José Oliva issued an olive branch of sorts on the proposed changes to teacher compensation.

Oliva said the House pledges to work toward a significant proposal that can also accommodate wage increases in other critical areas.

For DeSantis, that instilled what sounded like confidence, and relief.

“He [didn’t] hold back on that speech,” DeSantis said. “You know, if you look at his comments on health care … When I was a baseball player, sometimes you know you throw like brushback pitches to keep someone honest, but then sometimes you go for their head. He went for their head on that one.”

The “brushback pitch,” in this case, was a statement when the proposal was rolled out in October, in which the Speaker said that the proposal was part of “over $2 billion of new spending requests from his agencies.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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