WELLINGTON, Fla. — Florida is putting a record amount of money toward raising teacher pay.
Speaking at Renaissance Charter School in Wellington on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he's approving $800 million from the state's new budget to increase the average minimum salary of teachers to at least $47,500.
The funding will also raise the pay of veteran teachers.
"It's just something that I think is really, really important," DeSantis said. "We do appreciate the folks who are working with these kids, particularly during difficult circumstances."
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DeSantis said Florida has spent $2 billion in increased teacher compensation over the last three years, including $1,000 bonuses for public and charter school teachers and principals last year.
The governor on Monday said it's critical to reward educators for their tireless efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People have really had to step up across the board in the school system, but particularly our classroom teachers," DeSantis said. "We just want to say that we appreciate it, and we hope that this will make a meaningful difference."
Here are the current starting teacher salaries in public school districts in our area:
- School District of Palm Beach County: $47,500
- School District of Indian River County: $47,500
- Okeechobee County School District: $46,325
- Martin County School District: $45,200
- St. Lucie Public Schools: $44,984
"It's nice that teachers are being appreciated," said Loren Temes, a third grade teacher at Renaissance Charter School. "I don't think people understand how much we actually work."
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Earlier this month, the Florida House and Senate approved a record $112 billion budget, which includes $24 billion for K-12 public education in the state. The governor has not yet approved the full budget, including vetoing any items.
The increase to teacher salaries is the second noteworthy education announcement in as many weeks.
DeSantis on March 15 said the controversial Florida Standards Assessments are officially being eliminated after this school year, and will be replaced with a progress monitoring system starting in the 2022/23 academic year.