Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill providing $500M to raise teachers’ salaries
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday, allocating an additional $500 million for teachers’ salaries, bumping Florida up from the 26th average teacher salary in the nation to the No. 5 ranking.
In a move that DeSantis says he hopes will attract more people into becoming teachers, he has increased the base salary of Florida’s K-12 teachers to start at $47,500 a year.
“This is a really big day for teacher’s compensation and we look forward to getting it to the teachers,” DeSantis said Wednesday.
Of the allotted $500 million, $100 million will go to experienced teachers who already make more than the average minimum salary. The average teacher’s salary during the years 2017-2018 was $37,636, according to the National Education Association.
“Obviously you’re not going to get rich doing it, just like police officers don’t get rich, just like other things,” DeSantis said. “You do it because you have a servant’s heart.”
The bill also ensures that a school district cannot lower a teacher’s annual salary below the base minimum.
DeSantis made the announcement from the Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens, a charter school located in Miami-Dade County.
The bill takes effect on July 1, and the governor assured Floridians that this pay bump will “100 percent” be included in this year’s budget, despite the changes COVID-19 brought to the state’s financial landscape.
The bill signed Wednesday, is reportedly the single largest teacher’s compensation package in history for the state of Florida.
DeSantis also applauded Florida teachers for coping with the coronavirus and teaching virtually.
“It was not an easy transition,” DeSantis said.
“I think Florida did better than just about any other state,” he added, noting their innovation and dedication to the students through a difficult time.