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Politics

FEA Wants a 10 Percent Pay Hike for Teachers, $2.4 Billion Increase in Education Funding

August 29, 2019 - 6:00am
Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram
Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram

A week after the state Board of Education approved a $22.3 billion fiscal 2021 budget request, Florida's largest teachers union crafted an alternate proposal that includes a 10 percent across-the-board pay raise for every public school employee in Florida.

The salary increase is part of the Florida Education Association’s (FEA) 10-year, $22 billion “Decade of Progress” initiative that, if implemented, would lift Florida from the bottom 10 nationally in per-student funding into the top 10.

“We are in an education crisis in this state,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Our children are paying the price for more than two decades of underfunding and poor policy decisions.”

Noting about 300,000 Florida students started school this year without a permanent, qualified teacher because -- the FEA maintains -- Florida ranks 46th in the nation in teacher salaries, Ingram added, “This situation has to change. Lawmakers must fund our future.”

The budget request approved by the Florida Board of Education (BOE) seeks to increase per-pupil spending from $7,676.87 this year to $7,763.20 in fiscal 2021, an increase of about $50, or about 1.12 percent.

FEA’s proposal calls for an additional $2.4 billion in fiscal 2021 to increase per-student spending by $767, with $614 going to the base student allocation (BSA), raising it to $8,377.20 per pupil.

That $2.4 billion boost would finance an across-the-board pay increase of 10 percent for every public school employee in Florida, improving districts’ ability to recruit and retain teachers and staff, the FEA states.

The additional money would also allow school districts to invest in music, art and physical education programs, and to hire school counselors, psychologists and social workers, the association said.

The FEA, which represents about 140,000 former and current educators, insists Floridians have demonstrated they are willing to invest more in education, noting voters have approved referendums across the state to boost funding for local schools.

Among examples cited: Hillsborough County, where residents endorsed a half-percent sales tax proposal last November, even though it would raise the sales tax to 8.5 percent, the highest in the state.

The budget request approved by the BOE last week, to be submitted to lawmakers when they begin preliminary 2020 session committee meetings in September, seeks nearly $420 million more in overall funding above this year’s $21.86 billion state education budget.

While the BOE budget request makes nearly $160 million potentially “available” for teacher pay hikes, the FEA said it is not enough to make up for “a decade of underfunding.”

The budget request “makes no effort -- zero -- to address the fact that education funding in Florida has failed to recur from the Great Recession,” the association said.

Ingram says despite a boost in education spending in this year’s budget and the proposed $420 million increase in next year’s budget request, when inflation and other costs are factored in, the state’s education funding remains below 2008 funding.

“It’s not getting our schools back to where they need to be because we’ve had a decade of underfunding," he said.

State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said last week that increasing teacher pay is a priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis and would be addressed by lawmakers during the 2020 session, which begins Jan. 14.

In a July interview on WPLG TV, DeSantis said “the single biggest factor on whether students are going to succeed is the quality of the teacher,” adding “the starting salary probably needs to go up and the state should help with that.”

He said he would present a package with teacher pay increases before the Legislature convenes.

John Haughey is the Florida contributor to The Center Square.

Comments

I’m in my 13th year.. I have a Masters... and the 10% would be nice but just so you know.. that will only put me at 42K a year. I came from a state that I would be at 58k.... Florida is an extremely expense state to live in and my wage is making it almost impossible to continue to live here. You also test the fun out of school for these kids and don’t expect them to be in the classroom..but make my livelihood based on students test grades. Make the kids come to school... pay me for at least my education and stop testing the hell out of these kids.

That pay is disgracefully low.

Its about time that the public school teachers of the State of Florida are paid comprable salaries like so many other states across our nation. Many of our teachers graduated with a four year degree or higher and have the same qualifications as a first year teacher but in Florida are starting at salaries much lower than other states. This trend continues for our Veteran teachers with 15, 20, 25, or 30 years experience. Our Veteran teachers would be making far more for their experience in other states. Its time & the time is now!!

I hope this gets approved. I am not a school teacher, and I don't have any children, but I support what FEA is trying to do! Yesss!

Fredo Ingrahm: Get in the classroom and teach,...and OUT of the Union Office !

Your response is off topic and irrelevant.

He is the president of FEA. What are you talking about?

And even 10% will not be enough! Next year they will want more. Their insatiable desires always exceed available resources. By the way, no commensurate increase in student performance is expected for their demand.

Insatiable desires? Not to be 46th in-the nation? 300,000 kids don’t have a regular teacher.

As a FL teacher, with a Bachelor's and Master's degree, and 16 years experience, my salary is so low that I receive food stamps to feed myself and three children. Dam those insatiable desires to eat!!!

You must not be an educator. If I was doing the job in the business world my salary would be closer to 80k. We are just asking for a fair salary. I work about 65-70 hours a week, have 13 yrs of experience and have a master. Do I not deserve a salary that says that? Standardized test do not show knowledge of subject. So you much not be a teacher. Stay out of what you don’t know!!!

As long as Florida has the year after year turn over and significant teacher shortage it has over the last decade, there will not be a significant increase in student performance. For that to happen you need to retain great teachers, year after year. Not only will retention of great teachers help students, but also the next generation of teachers who often learn far more from their peers than they ever did in education classes.

I’m curious, anonymously speaking, why so bitter? Enraged? I’m interested as to how much money you earn annually?

10% for teachers. In most cases, administrators are already over-paid compared to classroom teacher salaries. And - Florida is so far behind the 8-ball in terms of quality of public education - it'll take years - and a long-term Democratic state government - to catch up. The Republican party couldn't care less about quality education. All they ever do is 'talk' about it.

I believe you're lying. Look at Janice Mathieu's post and links below that put Florida's education system with the best of the best. But democrats prefer to lie.

so they are 4th best at passing student achievement tests, and that is your only benchmark on quality. Wow, the sheep are dumber than we ever imagined. That drop in the bucket will move us from 47th in education funding to 45th. Let the dumper trumpers rejoice...idiots.

Oops! Better learn how to read and comprehend. Florida is #1 and #4 where it counts - performance! We can credit this fantastic achievement to the fact that the libtards were told by the voters to go **** themselves. :-)

Quote: "if implemented, would lift Florida from the bottom 10 nationally in per-student funding into the top 10". That means absolutely nothing. Results are what counts. For higher education, Florida ranks #! https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/florida-ranks-best-state-in-the-nation-for-higher-education-report-says And according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) which is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas, Florida is the 4th best state in the nation for K-12 student achievement. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/profiles/stateprofile/overview/FL

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