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How would lawmakers’ pay plans impact Florida teachers?

The House’s raises would be higher. The Senate’s plan would benefit more people.
Newer teachers such as Pasco County's Kaitlyn Geddes and Kevin Knibbs could see raises as high as 15 percent, depending on what plan state lawmakers devise.
Newer teachers such as Pasco County's Kaitlyn Geddes and Kevin Knibbs could see raises as high as 15 percent, depending on what plan state lawmakers devise. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times Staff Writer ]
Published Feb. 11, 2020

As state lawmakers consider plans to increase teacher pay, Pasco County school district officials have begun assessing how the options would impact their nearly 5,500 faculty members.

The House plan appears likely to leave more teachers empty handed in Pasco, as elsewhere, than the Senate version — even though the House plan includes more money.

In the House proposal, Pasco would receive an estimated $12.4 million to increase the base salary, and another $3.7 million for others already above the minimum.

According to district assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley, the amount would allow Pasco to boost its minimum teacher wage to $46,250, while also taking into consideration related taxes and other contributions. Some teachers’ raises would approach 15 percent.

With the remaining amount, the district could afford a 3.5 percent raise for the others. That would include a smaller percentage for those teachers who got a boost to the $46,250, but for whom the raise was less than 3.5 percent.

In all, 4,513 educators would get a raise of some sort. But 916 would be left out, because they are not assigned as “classroom teachers,” which the House would require.

The Senate approach would provide less money to Pasco — $9.6 million that would help boost the bottom pay rate to $45,450, and another $2.4 million that would provide a 1.3 percent raise to all other instructional employees.

Just 30 adult education teachers would not be included, according to Shibley.

The state superintendents’ association has been gathering similar information from other districts, as well, so it can offer insights to lawmakers as they keep seeking consensus on the teacher pay issue.

One of the stated goals has been to reduce or eliminate the state’s ongoing teacher applicant shortage. With the current environment, that hasn’t been easy.

According to the Florida Education Association, the number of advertised vacancies statewide has risen to 2,448 as of January, up from 2,217 a year earlier.

Science teachers remain at the top of the critical shortage list, according to a report the State Board of Education is set to adopt on Wednesday. English, special education and ESOL positions also are in high demand.

Math teachers, third on the needs list a year ago, dropped to sixth position.

The teachers union is taking advantage of the discussion to push for even better funding of public education.

“Every child in the state of Florida deserves the opportunity to attend a fully staffed, well-resourced public school,” the FEA stated in a release sent to media on Tuesday.

It called for smaller student:guidance counselor ratios, certified full-time librarians in all schools and greater adherence to the state class-size requirements, among other items the group said would help create the type of education that students should have.

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