Gov. Rick Scott finishes his "pep rally tour" for teacher raises
Gov. Rick Scott is headed back to Tallahassee after a statewide feel-good tour to celebrate $480 million in the state's budget for teacher raises. The tour was called the "Teacher Pay Raise Pep Rally Tour."
He visited schools in Broward, St. John's, Orange and Palm Beach counties before making his last stop at Alexander Elementary in Hillsborough County. See our story about the visit here.
Scott has worked hard in recent months to position himself as something of an education governor, celebrating teachers in his State of the State speech, restoring money to the education budget, and pushing hard for a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise for teachers. His critics have accused him of using education as a ploy to get re-elected.
The pay raise didn't turn out quite as Scott intended - it will be subject to local union agreements, school board decisions and evaluations. But Scott took a victory lap around the state to celebrate. He released a statement saying, "Visiting schools across the state to celebrate the $480 million victory for teacher pay raises was the perfect way to spend National Teacher Appreciation Week."
A press release from his office said the pay raises allow districts "the flexibility to develop their own plan to award the greatest number of teachers the largest pay raise possible, in coordination with their collective bargaining agreements."
Scott's office also put out this statement from Hillsborough County superintendent MaryEllen Elia: “Governor Rick Scott’s strong leadership and unwavering commitment have made this a banner year for Florida’s teachers. We applaud Governor Scott for his resilience during the legislative session and look forward to working with him as we move into the Common Core State Standards to prepare all students for college and career.”