Florida lawmakers want to raise teachers starting pay to $65,000

Florida teachers are in the forefront of Governor Ron DeSantis' budget. He says they deserve more pay, and Florida lawmakers are proposing a bill that would give them a big increase.

Florida is one of the lowest ranked for teacher pay. Teacher union leaders and state lawmakers like Representative Jervonte Edmonds argue more needs to be done to really impact teachers, especially as we deal with thousands of vacancies in the state. 

A study by the National Education Association found Florida ranked 48th in the nation for average teacher pay for the 2020 - 2021 school year. 

The new state budget proposal includes at least $200 million allocated to continue raising teacher pay for the fourth year in the row.  Districts have flexibility on using it, but the president of the state's teacher's union estimates that would translate to only about a $20 dollar increase per week for teachers.

Representative Edmonds is taking a more direct measure to address the issue with his new bill.  It's called "Save Our Teachers" and would increase base pay from $48,000 to $65,000. 

Some veteran teachers have expressed concerns that they would be left behind if base pay is bumped up, but Edmonds says no one is left behind in this bill and veteran teachers will still get bonus incentives. 

State lawmakers will take up the budget – and this proposed bill – during the new legislative session starting in March.