Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday will unveil a proposal for an across-the-board teacher pay increase, a spokeswoman for the governor confirmed Tuesday, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.
Scott is to formally announce his proposal at an event at an Orlando-area school, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told the News Service of Florida, though she said his office won’t disclose details until then.
The proposal was being met a day ahead with cautious optimism by public education stakeholders who said the governor’s education push dovetails neatly with his mantra of economic development and job growth.
“I think the governor is recognizing the value of our classroom teachers and the public education system in Florida,” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, who is also executive director of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, and a former Leon County superintendent. “We all know there is a direct correlation between the state’s education and good jobs.”
Scott, whose budget is due to lawmakers by Feb. 3, called on the Legislature last year to raise education funding by $1 billion, which it did. Earlier this month, the governor said he hopes lawmakers will again increase spending in the K-12 education budget.
Scott had earlier announced he wants to create a program that would allow teachers, who often spend their own money on students, to get debit cards tied to the school system with which they could purchase supplies.
Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, said Tuesday the union has not been in contact with the governor’s office over the salary proposal and said it was early in the budget process.
“We just have to see what the details are,” Ford said. “It’s not as simple as just saying you want to increase salaries. You have to provide enough funding through the (basic state school spending program) to allow school districts to do it.”