Time to celebrate Florida teacher raises?
The Florida 2013 legislative session behind him, Gov. Rick Scott wants to cheer. With teachers.
He's scheduled a "Teacher Pay Raise Pep Rally Tour" this week to celebrate lawmakers' decision to put $480 million into teacher salaries — one of his two key goals for the two-month session. The first stop comes this morning at Piper High in Sunrise, followed by visits later Monday at Wynnebrook Elementary in West Palm Beach and Nease High in Ponte Vedra.
Scott will visit Ocoee Middle on Tuesday, and Alexander Elementary in Tampa on Friday.
He balked at the Legislature's first pass on the raises, which lawmakers planned to tie to performance measures and hold off until June 2014. But Scott, who had called for across-the-board raises sooner, was less upset when lawmakers arrived at a compromise allowing the money to come earlier. The final approved proviso language (Page 40 of 46) reads:
"Notwithstanding the distribution provisions in the salary increase portion of the proviso following Specific Appropriation 87 contained in Senate Bill 1500, enacted during the 2013 regular session of the Florida Legislature, a district school board or charter school board may distribute salary increases at any time before June 2014, in conformance with requirements of the proviso or board-approved evaluation plan, and as negotiated with collective bargaining units and educators, as appropriate."
It's still tied to evaluations, but the districts get to bargain the terms, and aren't bound to use tests that in many cases don't even exist.
Most Florida teachers haven't seen raises in five years. Does the governor's plan, as tweaked by the Legislature, provide cause for celebration?