Gov. DeSantis confirms he’ll sign off on continued teacher pay raises
Ron DeSantis gets a legal smackdown over Florida's 2021 voting reform bill. Image via AP.

DeSantis at USF
With the new funding, teachers in Florida public schools will have received $2 billion in salary increases the last three years.

Teachers have earned steak dinners, vegan or not.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, school officials, and teachers are celebrating $800 million in teacher pay raises that lawmakers included in their recent budget proposal. That’s $250 million more than the increase the state issued for the current fiscal year. The spending is in line with the Republican Governor’s plan to get all public and charter school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of $47,500 per year.

Backed Monday by outgoing Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, local lawmakers, and staff members of Renaissance Charter School at Wellington, DeSantis told reporters he was “officially” approving the spending.

“You want to get somebody in college, say go into teaching, that it’s a noble profession,” DeSantis said. “People understand you’re not going to necessarily be a billionaire doing this, but you need to be able to make ends meet.”

Principal Christopher Glenton said a teacher told him to thank the Governor for the pay raises, joking that teachers can now afford a steak dinner.

“Teachers should be able to eat steak dinners. And even in a foodie world, even if it’s vegan steak, we should be able to buy that,” Glenton said.

While the pay raises are meaningful for teachers, Glenton also said it’s significant at the administration level.

“I’m looking for good talent to hire. I don’t want salary to be the deciding factor that a teacher won’t join our organization because they can’t afford to do so,” he said. “Leveling that field, I can’t tell you how important that is.”

Tiqkia Barrow, who described herself as an Army veteran and a veteran teacher, said teachers are also effectively youth pastors who teach morals and ethics. Teachers aren’t glorified day care assistants and should be paid as professionals, she continued.

“By this initiative happening, it’s not about if we have a salary, but it’s: Can a teacher pay their light bill? Can a teacher pay their water bill? Can a teacher give that kid that doesn’t have food at home an extra snack or an extra bag of chips to put in their backpack — and not at the expense of their own home?” Barrow said.

With the new funding, teachers in Florida public schools will have received $2 billion in salary increases the last three years. The first round of that funding largely increased the minimum starting salary for teachers. Recent rounds have focused more on benefiting veteran teachers.

The budget represents the consensus between the House and the Senate for the state’s financial priorities. Individual spending items are still subject to the Governor’s veto pen, however. Last year, DeSantis was thought to have wielded a relatively light touch when he slashed $1.5 billion to leave a $101 billion budget, most of those cuts coming from federal spending.

Included in the 2022-23 budget proposal is $24.3 billion for K-12 schools, a $1.7 billion increase on the current year. That equates to $8,143 per student, about $385 more per student than the current year.

While DeSantis said Monday he “officially” approved the item, his formal approval is expected to come later, as late as the end of June.

Since Session ended a week ago, Corcoran has been on what DeSantis has called a “farewell tour” touting the administration’s legislative wins on education priorities, particularly in nixing the Florida Standards Assessment.

“Elevating and celebrating teachers, it’s the single most important factor to the success of a child,” Corcoran said. “Not only is K-12 education the backbone of America, the backbone of the backbone are teachers.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


2 comments

  • Concern Citizen

    March 22, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I have no opposition to a pay raise for the teachers. My only question is how much will it raise my taxes?

  • Cynthia

    March 28, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    What about school support staff such as school nutrition assistants. Will they be getting a raise as well? A lot of Florida counties have increased their minimum wage for school nutrition assistants to $15.00 per hour.

Comments are closed.


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