Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $800 million in this year’s budget to raise minimum teacher pay and increase veteran teacher salaries in Florida. The $800 million is a $250 million increase over last year’s funding, and brings Florida’s investments in teacher pay to greater than $2 billion since the 2020 Legislative Session. In 2020, the average starting salary for a teacher in Florida was $40,000 (26th in the nation), and with today’s funding, it will now be at least $47,000 (9th in the nation).
“Over the last three years, we have worked hard to increase teacher pay,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We have invested more than $2 billion in teacher pay, and with rising inflation, this could not come at a better time. This will help Florida to recruit and retain great teachers.”
“Governor DeSantis is unquestionably the most pro-teacher governor in the nation. He has challenged us to elevate and celebrate the teaching profession by listening to the needs of teachers,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “We’ve put words into action by replacing Common Core, eliminating the Florida Standards Assessment, and working with our close friends in the Florida Legislature to secure $800 million in state funding to provide teachers a well-deserved pay increase. I’m excited for Florida’s teachers and am grateful for Governor DeSantis’ vision and his relentless pursuit to improve the teaching profession.”
Many teachers are dedicated to their profession, but can have a difficult time purchasing a home, paying student loans, and providing for their families. This situation is getting even more difficult for teachers across the nation with rising inflation. The increases in teacher pay will provide critical help to teachers in Florida during a critical time where inflation is rising rapidly across the country:
- The Consumer Price Index rose by 7.9 percent through February, the fastest pace of annual inflation in 40 years.
- According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of gas in Florida is currently $4.17 – up more than $1.25 in one year.
- The cost of groceries rose 8.5 percent over the past year.
“What is nice about this for teachers is that you made a commitment for our teachers that you would raise base pay to sustain a living,” said Christopher Glinton, Principal, Renaissance Charter School at Wellington. “This is very important. From a leadership perspective, when I am looking for talent to hire, I don’t want salary to be a deciding factor in that a teacher won’t join our organization because they can’t afford it.”
“Educators are the backbone of America,” said Tiqkia Barrow, 5th Grade Teacher, Renaissance Charter School at Wellington. “By this initiative happening, it is not about having a salary, it is about can a teacher pay their light bill, can a teacher pay their water bill, can a teacher give a kid who 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.”
“I don’t think people always understand the countless hours we put into our work,” said Loren Temes, 2nd Grade Teacher, Renaissance Charter School at Wellington. “I truly love my students. I am constantly thinking of things to help teach them and it is nice to be appreciated and be respected.”
“There is a nationwide teacher shortage, as fewer students enter the college of education programs with the goal of becoming an educator,” said David Broskie, Superintendent, School District of Clay County. “I applaud the Governor’s leadership and vision for recognizing that the starting salary of teachers needed to be raised to address this challenge. I am proud to be an educator and we have certainly come a long way. A recruitment plan, providing teachers with the support they need, and increased compensation leads to a bright future for our teachers and a bright future for our students.”
“Over my career, I have seen many changes in the education system and several administrations in Tallahassee. I am happy to say that Governor DeSantis, the Legislature, and the Department of Education are making education a priority in Florida,” said Kristen Geiger, Teacher, Fleming Island Elementary School. “Fighting for higher starter teacher salaries and compensation for veteran teachers is what will not only attract the best teachers to Florida but, retain them as well.”
“I think we can all agree that the last two years has presented many challenges but the one thing that remained constant and we could always count on was the support of our Superintendent and administration here in Clay County,” said Jennifer Sherman, Teacher, Fleming Island Elementary School. “The teamwork and collaboration between the Governor’s team and our district leaders has been incredible and I am so grateful for that. For maybe the first time in Florida’s history, we have a Governor and administration that goes above and beyond to recognize and empower educators by listening and giving us a voice.”