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Lawmakers And Gov. Scott Compromise On Teacher Raises

The Florida Senate

Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott reached a compromise on $480 million in raises for teachers and other school workers.

The raises are part of a $74 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Districts will have flexibility in how the money is awarded based on local collective bargaining agreements.

The Governor’s Office says the funding provides every teacher a minimum of a $2,000 pay raise, with raises as high as $3,500 for teachers rated “highly effective.”

Gov. Rick Scott was asking for $2,500 raises across the board, but he seems happy with the compromise.

“I want to thank the House and the Senate for ensuring that we build on our work to implement performance pay, while also allowing school districts the flexibility to use the $480 million in new funding to give every Florida teacher a pay raise,” Scott said.

But the reward won’t come right away. Teachers won’t get the money until June of 2014.

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford likes the deal – except for the delay in handing out the money.

In a statement, Ford said he’s disappointed that legislative leaders postponed the salary increases and are requiring that they be based on “procedures for performance measurement that don’t currently exist.”

Ford also doesn’t want teachers to have to share the money with other school personnel.  But he clearly doesn’t want to seem ungrateful.

“FEA thanks Governor Scott for his efforts to provide an immediate across-the-board pay increase to Florida’s classroom teachers,” Ford said. “Through the collective bargaining process, FEA remains committed to working with local school districts to develop fair, valid, reliable and transparent processes to reward the success of Florida’s teaching force.”

Senate President Don Gaetz praised the governor for “lifting up Florida’s schools and teachers.”

“Neither the House nor the Senate nor the governor “won” in these budget negotiations,” Gaetz said. “The winners were Florida’s teachers who will be better compensated (and) Florida’s students who will be taught by educators recognized and rewarded for their performance.”

House Speaker Will Weatherford said the two chambers agreed to more than $1 billion additional dollars for education.

“This agreement embodies both the strong commitment to fullyfunding a merit pay plan, while providing local school districts enough money and flexibility to fund local education priorities,” Weatherford said. “This is an incredible win for the teachers and students of our state.”