1. Opinion

Teacher pay is not keeping up with inflation in Florida

Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association members protest outside of the school board building in Tampa in December 2017. [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 18

Teachers’ salaries aren’t keeping up

Teacher pay

I recently discovered a copy of the salary schedule from Pinellas County schools from 2005-06. Being in my 24th year of teaching, I paid attention to the salary of a 24-year experienced teacher from back then. In the ’05-’06 school year a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 24 years’ experience would have made $54,400. The salary for a bachelor’s degree teacher with 24 years’ experience in 2019-20 is $55,008, a difference of only $608. That equals a 1.1 percent overall pay increase in 14 years. During that same time period the CPI in the Tampa Bay area rose an average of 2.2 percent a year — an overall increase of 33 percent. If the pay scale had just managed to keep up with the cost of living, the pay for the said 24-year teacher would be $72,403, a difference of $17,395. Year after year, experienced teachers are being squeezed out of the system with wage compression that Tallahassee forces on the districts. While paying beginning teachers higher and higher salaries is a good and decent thing, the insulting and injurious pay scale for the experienced teachers helps explain the exodus of good, experienced teachers from the profession.

Lee Bryant, St. Petersburg

Flashing lights should be red

Bicyclist injured after hit-and-run inside bike crossing | Nov. 17

It has always been a head scratcher for me that crossings for pedestrians and cyclists come with flashing yellow lights rather than red. Drivers are taught that red means stop and yellow means slow down and proceed with caution. If the true purpose for crosswalks is to protect walkers and bikers, then red flashing lights need to be the only color option. Otherwise, people attempting to share a roadway with motor vehicles will always lose out.

Darryl David, St. Petersburg

Pick the person, not the party

Rich co-opt tax break | Nov. 17

Former Florida governor and Sen. Rick Scott [ANDREW HARNIK | AP]

While I have been a registered Democrat ever since I first began to vote, I have on occasion voted for a Republican when I thought the person would be a better representative of all the people as opposed to a Democratic opponent who only seemed to want to represent himself. Thus, I am amazed by the indoctrination of Republicans who vote for their party no matter what. Reading this article about then-Gov. Rick Scott’s giveaways to the rich along with a similar article a few days earlier about his shenanigans concerning his denial of Medicaid expansion — and how Republican legislators here in Florida want to continue such draconian policies — is enough to make me worry about the future of our republic.

Ralph Madison, St. Petersburg

Now that’s rich

Rich co-opt tax break | Nov. 17

I’m saving this article for the next time one of my friends bemoans how there are so many people who abuse government “handouts.”

Ed Brown, Tarpon Springs

Fiction or non-fiction?

Trump Jr.’s book is a No. 1 bestseller | Nov. 15

Donald Trump, Jr. [ERIC GAY | AP]

President Donald Trump bragged on Twitter that his son’s book was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Now I’m confused. I thought the president believed the New York Times was “fake news.”

Charles Smith, St. Petersburg


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