SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Governor Ron DeSantis is sticking to his promise. Florida teachers will be getting a pay raise starting this Fall. He announced his new executive order on Wednesday. This has been a top priority for the governor for months, and he officially was able to sign over $500 million to boost the minimum salary for all teachers in the state.
“I’m very excited. I think it is an amazing first step on the road to putting Florida to the top of the education system,” expressed Adam Nowicki, the Technology teacher in Dr. Mona Jain Middle School in Manatee County.
The amount each school district will receive is calculated based roughly on enrollment, and the Florida Department of Education has not announced those numbers just yet, but all school districts will be required to raise salaries as close as possible to $47,500.
“I had originally wanted to become a doctor, and my main motivation was the money. I wanted to be able to support myself, my family and their future families, but I know in my heart, that my passion was to teach,” explained Gabrielle Rodriguez, a graduate student at the University of Florida.
Graduates who will soon enter the classroom as teachers and students, will no longer have to feel like they’re sacrificing their financial life to do what they love.
“I’m fortunate enough to be entering this profession now that all these proactive changes are being made, so it does give me hope that teachers are being valued and appreciated more,” said Rodriguez.
Many teachers say they know this only happened because of the pandemic where everyone was forced to see how much teachers do for our future generations.
“Some people learned a whole new way of teaching, and they just nailed it. Teachers have provided an education in whatever setting it needed to happen in, and they’ve been doing this all along. Now it just because very obvious just how important teachers are, and that was a huge wake up call,” Nowicki tells us.
Aside from new, incoming teachers, the plan will benefit all K-12 classroom teachers who earn less than that currently. However, educators hope that these great changes don’t stop here.
“My hope is that there isn’t some complacency. I don’t want it to be like ‘look what we’ve done’, and forget about our veteran teachers. The years and knowledge that they have are incomparable. We really need to take care of these teachers,” expressed Nowicki.
Governor DeSantis did say that $100 million of the $500 million, will be used for pay raises for veteran teachers of more than 10 years of experience, but it’s unclear how much will be given to each school district.