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Standoff beween budget negotiators and Scott over teacher raises

by John Kennedy | April 22nd, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a sweeping education bill Monday, even as the focus on Florida schools is being largely overtaken by a battle between the governor and legislative leaders over teacher pay.

Flanked by university presidents, lawmakers and other education leaders, Scott signed SB 1076, which would overhaul high school and higher education.

The legislation  creates two designations for high school degrees, each with different requirements. One is aimed at encouraging students to work toward industry certification.

The bill would also set out standards for universities to be recognized as “preeminent universities,” with one of those schools positioned to run an online institute to encourage internet-based education, a priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

Weatherford called the legislation “transformational.” Scott also praised the measure for helping connect students to the state’s evolving economy.

“We should all be proud of how this will help children get jobs when they finish their education,” Scott said.

But House and Senate budget negotiators have darkened one of Scott’s top priorities: $2,500 pay raises for teachers. While the proposed budget being hammered on now settles on the $480 million Scott needs to achieve that goal, lawmakers want to broaden the pool of potential recipients and tie the raises to merit.

Including guidance counselors, librarians and other non-teachers in the eligible pool would potentially shrink the amount of individual raises.

Since there isn’t a plan in place to enact merit-pay raises, that also could delay getting the money into teachers’ hands, critics said.

“Despite the fact that teachers in Florida make $10,000 less than the national average, much-needed pay raises for next year will be based on a system that doesn’t make a lick of sense,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union.

“Pay raises for other state workers like law-enforcement officers and firefighters aren’t tied to a ridiculous evaluation system,” Ford concluded.

Senate Education budget chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said negotiators are still refining how the merit raises would be distributed. But he said it would not be difficult for the state and school boards to devise a system.

“I don’t think that’s a legitimate concern,” Galvano said.

Scott, though, after signing the education bill into law, said he was not bending on the $2,500 raise.

“I have my priorities, the House and Senate have their priorities,” Scott said. “We have two weeks left in session. We’ll see how well each of us get our priorities…I believ we’re going to have a great session.”

He added, “Our K-12 school system is doing a great job…The right thing to do is reward our teachers with a $2,500 pay raise.”


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9 Responses to “Standoff beween budget negotiators and Scott over teacher raises”

  1. what's good for the goose Says:

    why not tie legislative performance to pay in the state house and senate? each district should be evaluated as to socio-economic status of the citizens, infrastructure, unemployment, crime, etc. if they meet the criteria set up by the evaluation team, then they get paid. if not, oh well….wait till after the next evaluation and try again.

  2. David 2 Says:

    Don’t forget about higher education-no one has had a raise from the state in what will soon be 7 years. And, to the general public, university employees are also severly underpaid. Very, very few of us make large salaries.

  3. clean house! Says:

    Dear fellow Floridians. Do not believe that Gov Scott is on the side of teachers or any other public employee or anybody who is not a wealthy contributor or a tea party robot. This is all damage control in preparation for the future election and his dismal poll numbers. Never forget what this man has done to our state. Government sold to the highest bidder. God bless our republic. Be strong.

  4. Oops Says:

    Great way to confuse the public. Here’s hoping the gimmick does’t work. Standoff shmandoff…

  5. Ted the Nimble Says:

    I’m with Clean House!! Don’t forget what Scott has done to our state: Unemployment went from 11.1% to 7.8% in the last 2 years – Less people for us Dems to support!
    Had the nerve to balance 2 state budgets and didnt raise taxes.
    Added 1 Billion last year in education funding – only us dems can do that by raising taxes!!!!
    Reduced property taxes by 200 million – that could have gone to saving the wooded owls and sea turtles!!!
    Made sure non citizens couldnt vote illegally – taking away future democratic voters!!!
    and he created a 24 Billion trade surplus – Capitalist Pigs!!!

  6. Nicole Says:

    I have taught for 15 years- never worried too much. But, my husband is now needing my salary and times are tough. Please discourage schools from using any funds, earmarked or not, for training and ask them not to have out of town travel. There is no need to send people places to get trained and that money could help the teachers who are doing everything. We really do need higher salaries.

  7. Ted the pinhead Says:

    Wow, guess idiot forgot he took a billion away from education first. God, these freaks are so so so dumb.

  8. T Says:

    Drink some more tea Ted

  9. Oops Says:

    If only I could believe this wasn’t just a gimmick to garner favor for the Governor for the next election.

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