Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

At odds with Gov. Scott, lawmakers align on teacher merit raises

Published Apr. 22, 2013

TALLAHASSEE — The House and the Senate aligned their position on teacher pay raises Sunday, putting the Florida Legislature on a collision course with Gov. Rick Scott.

The chambers agreed to spend $480 million on salary increases for educators — the same figure Scott has in his budget.

The key difference: the Senate and the House are insisting on performance-based raises, while Scott is championing $2,500 across-the-board increases for every classroom teacher.

The governor is holding firm on his proposal, one of his top priorities for this year's legislative session, which ends in early May. House and Senate leaders said they didn't see Scott's plan becoming reality.

"The governor has priorities. The Legislature has priorities," said Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers late Sunday. "There's still enough time left to determine how successful this session will be for all of us."

Said House Education Appropriations Chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami, earlier in the day: "Regardless of how you look at it, (teacher raises) will have a methodology that ties the increases to merit."

Reaching consensus didn't come easily.

Initially, the House had wanted to spend $676 million and then adjusted the number to $628 million late last week. On Sunday, the lower chamber decided that $480 million would be okay.

There had also been some discrepancies over how much flexibility the districts ought to have with the cash. The House wanted to give school systems more freedom than the Senate. But Fresen said the House and Senate were close to reaching consensus on that front, too.

The two chambers also agreed Sunday to a new way of calculating per-student spending, which would result in an $8 million cut to virtual education programs, according to documents from the House. The change was necessary, lawmakers have said, because students enrolled in virtual programs were receiving a larger share of money than students in brick-and-mortar schools.

Senate Education Appropriations Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, insisted the change would "not harm Florida Virtual School."

"It's not hurting the program if there is some inequity in a program and that inequity is corrected," he said.

Despite the consensus, a handful of education issues remain unresolved, including the 6 percent tuition hike House Speaker Will Weatherford has been pushing for the state's universities.

On Sunday, the House said it was willing to come down to a 4 percent increase.

Galvano said he would have to evaluate the new offer. On Saturday, however, he said the Senate would hold its position that tuition not be increased.

Times/Herald staff writers Tia Mitchell and Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower
    It’s unclear how state and county officials plan on complying with the judge’s order, however. The “poll tax” issued wasn’t addressed, either.
  2. The Florida Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The job entails being a part-time lobbyist, part-time expert on the Florida Sunshine Law.
  3. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  4. Igor Fruman, hugs Florida Governor elect Ron DeSantis, right, as Lev Parnas looks on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Orlando at the watch party for DeSantis. Fruman and Parnas were arrested last week on campaign finance violations. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Florida’s governor has shrugged off past donor controversies. This time, there were photos. Now it’s not going away.
  5. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  6. Senador de Florida, Rick Scott.  Foto: AP
    “The FBI has failed to give me or these families an acceptable answer, but I’m not going to allow that,” Scott said, adding that the FBI didn’t share pertinent information on shootings at Pulse, the...
  7. Courtney Wild, 30, was a victim of serial sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein beginning at the age of 14. Epstein paid Wild, and many other underage girls, to give him massages, often having them undress and perform sexual acts. Epstein also used the girls as recruiters, paying them to bring him other underage girls. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
    Courtney Wild’s relentless quest for justice has led to a bipartisan push for sweeping reforms.
  8. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference on Sept. 25, in Davie. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Naples lawyer Dudley Goodlette was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month.
  9. Rep. Jamie Grant, R- Tampa and Senator Jeff Brandes, R- St. Petersburg listen to Amendment 4 debate in the Florida Senate on Thursday. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “I think some of the points of the judge were well-made," Sen. Jeff Brandes said.
  10. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — did not respond this past week to requests from the Miami Herald to address her $761,560 annual salary. She is head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]
    The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of a domestic violence nonprofit’s finances last summer after it was reported that its CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $761,000. The state...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement