Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Wednesday at an event in South Florida that would provide over $500 million in education funding to raise teacher salaries.
The bill, HB 641 Funds for the Operation of Schools, would provide funds to schools by July 1 and become “the largest compensation package in the history of Florida”.
DeSantis said it would raise base salaries of K-12 classroom teachers to $47,500. Apryle Jackson, president of the Osceola County Educators Association, whose term ends next week, said she had not seen the details of this bill. She noted that a previous version of the bill proposed would have given teachers, mostly newer ones, a significant raise if they made less than $47,500. Those who make more would have gotten a smaller raise.
If the raises are what the state say they are, the new funding would take Florida from No. 26 in the nation to No. 5 in the nation for average minimum salary.
DeSantis did say at the event that while the state’s fiscal picture is different now than it was earlier in the year, and not every decision has been made about the budget, “I can report that this would 100 percent be there.”
This initiative will not be funded by the CARES Act. That federal funding will be used by school districts to cover the extra costs of minding health concerns and CDC guidelines in order to open this fall in the face of coronavirus pandemic.