$1.25 billion allocated for teacher pay in forthcoming state budget

by | Jun 10, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday a $1.25 billion allocation for teacher salary increases in the 2024-25 state budget

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a $1.25 billion allocation for teacher salary increases in Florida’s upcoming 2024-25 state budget, bringing the total investment in teacher pay raises to $4.6 billion since 2020.

According to the governor, the allocation is intended solely for teacher salary increases and serves a goal to raise the average minimum salary for teachers from just under $40,000 in 2019 to more than $48,000 in 2024.

“Since 2019 to the present, we’ve had by far the biggest increase in teacher compensation that has ever happened in the history of the state of Florida, and that’s something that the legislature has worked with us on,” said DeSantis. “We’re very happy that’s the case.”

Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez appeared at the press conference in support of DeSantis, lambasting teacher unions for what she described as pushing political agendas rather than focusing on education.

Nuñez criticized unions for using member dues for “political purposes” and anecdotally reported that teachers have confided in her feelings of harassment when choosing to leave a union. She subsequently claimed that salary increases for teachers are a result of state investments, not union efforts, and encouraged teachers to consider opting out of union membership to retain more of their earnings.

“From my perspective, teachers can continue to fight the good fight, give themselves a raise, and stay far away from [teacher unions],” Nuñez said, with DeSantis adding that “We are putting our money directly into teacher salaries, not into union coffers.”

A poll conducted late last year indicated a paradox among Florida voters who are critical of the direction of public schools but supportive of expanding union rights for teachers, including the right to strike. Conducted by Mason Dixon from December 16-20, 2023, the poll found that 54 percent of voters believe Florida’s public schools are on the wrong track. However, 72 percent support allowing teachers to strike for better pay and benefits without legal consequences. The recorded support crossed party lines, with even a majority of Republicans in favor.

DeSantis noted that his administration is nearing the finalization of the state budget, which the Florida Legislature ratified in March. He expects the process to be fully completed by the end of the week.

“We haven’t made final decisions on every little line item in the budget, but we have approved, I would say, probably 90 percent of the budget at this point,” he commented.


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