The Phoenix Flyer

FL House pushes for $47,000 starting teacher pay, lower than governor’s proposal

By: - January 29, 2020 11:20 am

School teachers protest for higher wages at a Miami-Dade School Board meeting. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Florida House is advancing a $650 million teacher-pay package for the new school year, which is $150 million higher than the Senate proposal for the 2020-21 state budget.

Rep. Chris Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who heads the House Pre-12 Appropriations subcommittee, said Wednesday that $500 million of the $650 million “salary enhancement supplement” will go toward raising starting teacher pay in the state to $47,000.

The proposal is closely in line with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call to raise starting teacher pay to $47,500.

The $47,000 figure, on average, would still be the second highest starting salary of the 50 states, based on 2017-18 data from the National Education Association. New Jersey’s average of $51,443 is the highest. However, California’s average of $46,992, would be about tied with Florida, if the state House figure uses $47,000 in its analysis.

Latvala said the remaining $150 million in the pay package could be used by the school districts to increase salaries for veteran teachers.

The House teacher-pay plan is more robust than the Senate’s proposal, which has earmarked $500 million for higher pay, with Senate leaders saying the $47,500 goal will be reached over a period of several years.

Neither the House nor the Senate have any funding for a bonus program for teachers or principals. Both chambers support ending the current “Best and Brightest” bonus program.

Here is a Florida Phoenix story on the Senate proposal. And a story on the governor’s plan for raising teacher salaries.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Lloyd Dunkelberger
Lloyd Dunkelberger

Lloyd Dunkelberger has been covering Florida government for over three decades. He’s reported and edited in Tallahassee for the New York Times Regional Newspapers group, Florida Politics, and the News Service of Florida. He grew up in Jacksonville and Palm Beach County and got his journalism degree at the University of Florida.