Gov. DeSantis education plan hikes teacher pay, ‘protection,’ ends automatic union dues
Ron DeSantis attacks the NHL for being 'woke.' Did he go too far this time?

DeSantis
'A lot of this is with school unions playing games with this stuff.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a series of proposals aimed at increasing teacher “empowerment,” including plans to hike their pay, give them more authority to impose discipline among students and end automatic deduction of union dues from their paychecks.

The pay increase would add $200 million to the $800 million already inserted into the budget to fund teacher pay hikes, bringing the annual total to $1 billion. DeSantis first pushed for the pay increases in 2020, with a $500 million bump, before putting in another $300 million this budget year.

If the Legislature approves the latest funding increase, DeSantis said the average teacher starting salary would reach $48,000 per year.

Not every K-12 school district, however, has seen teachers receive those pay increases. DeSantis blamed local school districts and unions, which must reach agreements for the pay hikes to take effect, for the delays. DeSantis said the $1 billion for teacher pay could come with a deadline for unions and school districts to reach an agreement before it reverts back to the state treasury.

“Even to this day not every school district has raised the salaries,” DeSantis said during an event in Jacksonville on Monday. “A lot of this is with school unions playing games with this stuff.”

DeSantis is also taking aim at teacher unions by backing a measure to eliminate the automatic deduction from teacher paychecks to pay union dues. A similar bill has failed to make it through the Republican-led Legislature in the past. Democrats have argued Republican lawmakers wouldn’t end automatic dues for police or firefighter unions, which, unlike teachers unions, often support the GOP.

The proposal would also prevent union officials from being paid more than the highest paid teacher at a given school.

Term limits for school board members would be set at 8 years, down from the current 12, under the plan.

Another plank of DeSantis’ plan would install a “teachers’ Bill of Rights” that give them more authority to discipline students to maintain order in the classroom and to protect teachers from punishment if they act in accordance with state law when there is a conflict with a local school or district policy.

“Teachers really need to have rights in terms of them managing classrooms,” DeSantis said. “We want to make sure teachers are protected.”

DeSantis didn’t mention the universal voucher bill (HB 1) released by House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, last week. Renner said he believes DeSantis, a school choice proponent, will back the measure.

Democrats in the Legislature immediately pushed back on the plan, with House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell calling it a “political move from a man who wants to run for President.”

Gray Rohrer


6 comments

  • SteveHC

    January 23, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    “ The proposal would also prevent union officials from being paid more than the highest paid teacher at a given school.” – Hmm… so now the King believes state government can now legislate the pay of non-government employees… would appear to be a downright dangerous precedent…

  • Lynn Lazarus

    January 23, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    I taught in Palm Beach County for over 20 years, and was NEVER forced to join the CTA. It was never presented as a union, but as an association and joining was by choice. Whether or not you joined, the association negotiated for everyone. I was given to understand at the time I moved here, there were no teacher unions in Florida.
    Has this changed?

  • Lynn Lazarus

    January 23, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    I taught in Palm Beach County for over 20 years, and was NEVER forced to join the CTA. It was never presented as a union, but as an association and joining was by choice. Whether or not you joined, the association negotiated for everyone. I was given to understand at the time I moved here, there were no teacher unions in Florida.
    Has this changed?

  • AG

    January 23, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    I also was never forced to join union. It is interesting how the talk is always about raising starting teacher pay. Although it has been needed for a long time, little is being done to increase the pay of veteran teachers. Why are unions being blamed for trying to support higher pay for all and not just a few?

  • Susan

    January 23, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    I was never forced to join the union either. And once again nothing mentioned about raises for veteran teachers. We have parents bill of rights and now they are going to have teachers impose discipline too. BS , teachers will be getting sued right and left.

  • Fred Tabor

    January 24, 2023 at 6:58 am

    Couple this with HB 1, will now allow everyone and his uncle to use taxpayer money to go to a religious or private school (an unfunded mandate up to 350,000 are expected to take advantage of per FL Policy Inst), and you have the destruction of public education in Florida. No wonder it has Americans for Prosperity’s wholehearted support. And of course you also have the built-in enrichment and grift for those running schools receiving the money without financial accountability. The only fiscal accountability for the tax dollars pouring into private schools per a recent interview with Rep Renner on ABC was the typical Koch one: the marketplace. Parents can just move their kids if they’re unhappy. The problem is that education isn’t like buying cereal and being able to compare price and brand. And moving children from one school to another seems to assume that the child’s emotions of leaving friends and moving schools is no different than deciding whether to shop at Publix or Winn-Dixie.

    DeSantis cosplays a bully to fashion himself as mini-Trump for voters, but he is in reality another cog in the MAGA big money wheel, carrying water for the Koch network, CNP, and their multitude of tentacle organizations. Who wants to move children to private schools so much that they are willing to even temporarily subsidize rich parents to move their kids? People that don’t want to pay taxes to support public education. People that believe that if you can’t afford private school your kids just don’t go. Vouchers/scholarships are a temporary lure to get enough kids moved over to make it feasible. They for decades have been playing the long game, and have for decades

    Public education is too important to allow either HB 1 or the gutting of teacher’s unions to pass. With a supermajority though, they can literally destroy public education. The main tool we have is our vote. Those running statewide or nationally still need to care what the majority of voters think, unlike the safely gerrymandered Republicans in the legislature. Contact Governor DeSantis and let him know that you see what is going on and that you care. Write letters to the editor to your local paper. If you see something say something is a good strategy to counter bullying in politics too!

Comments are closed.


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