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Rick Scott Seeks to Work with Board of Education on Teacher Raises


Gov. Rick Scott is taking his push for an across-the-board $2,500 pay raise for teachers to the State Board of Education as they meet Monday in Orlando.

We all agree that investing in our teachers and in our education system is the key to our states continued economic growth. I believe that we can invest in all of Floridas teachers while continuing to ensure teacher accountability, Scott stated in a letter released Monday from the governors office to State Board Chairman Gary Chartrand.

Scotts letter is part of the agenda for the board, which will also receive an update on teacher shortages and Floridas shift to the new national assessment system known as Common Core Standards at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Scotts letter:

Chair Gary Chartrand

State Board of Education

325 West Gaines St., Room 1520

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Chair Chartrand:

Thank you for your leadership on the State Board of Education. Thanks to your efforts, and the hard work of our teachers, administrators, and students, Floridas education system has made incredible gains.

The hard choices we made to get our economy back on track over the last two years have positioned us to strategically invest in statewide priorities that will encourage job creation for generations to come. The priorities in our 2013-2014 Florida Families First Budget are jobs and education.

Our budget includes an increase of $1.25 billion in funding for K-12 public schools and includes a $480 million recommendation to give each and every classroom teacher a $2,500 pay raise, along with the cost of related benefits. I have also recommended increasing teacher classroom supply funding by $14 million for a total of $45.9 million. This increase represents an additional $70 per teacher, providing an average of $250 per teacher, so our teachers dont have to spend their own money for classroom needs.

We all agree that investing in our teachers and in our education system is the key to our states continued economic growth. I believe that we can invest in all of Floridas teachers while continuing to ensure teacher accountability. There are three key reasons why:

First, Florida teachers are high performers.

Florida teachers earned the highest overall grade in the U.S. for teacher quality on the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Florida fourth graders scored among the best in the world in an international reading study.

Florida's federal graduation rate rose by an unprecedented 3.9 percent in 2012 -- the largest single-year increase our state has seen since 2003.

Second, we have removed teacher tenure to ensure those at the local level have the flexibility to make sure the absolute best teachers are advanced and rewarded.

Third, we instituted performance pay last year, to help measure and reward those teachers whose students improve the most, and I am committed to funding performance pay in the 2014-2015 budget, when this law is scheduled to go into effect.

Because of the reforms we made over the last two years, we are in a better position today than ever before to support our teachers as they transition to Common Core and reward their outstanding achievements and hard work.

Investments in education will continue to drive economic growth in our state. Our teachers are the cornerstone of educational success.

We know jobs and education -- the two priority areas of our legislative agenda -- are directly connected. The workforce of tomorrow is in Florida classrooms today. Thank you for your commitment to Florida students. I look forward to working together over the months ahead to make this $2,500 teacher pay raise and our historic $1.2 billion increase in state education financing a reality for Florida families.

Sincerely,

Rick Scott

Governor.

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