HIALEAH SPRINGS – State Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) joined Gov. Ron DeSantis at a South Florida school last week as he signed into law a bill to implement a $500 million increase for Florida teacher salaries.
The governor and Bradley first announced a teacher pay increase package last October at a press event held at Middleburg High in Clay County. Bradley praised the Governor’s commitment to Florida’s teachers while speaking at the event saying, “Promise made, promise kept. The governor and the legislature delivered. This truly is the “Year of the Teacher” in Florida!”
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Bradley worked with House budget chair Rep. Travis Cummings to bring the teacher pay increase to fruition. Bradley also sponsored a bill in the Senate, included in last week’s signed bill, which repealed the unpopular “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program, allowing those dollars to be included in the pay package. “The Florida Legislature has been conservative, responsible stewards of state tax dollars,” said Bradley. “Our fiscal responsibility, including setting back billions of dollars in reserves – affords us the opportunity to keep this commitment to our teachers despite the fiscal impact that COVID-19 is having on our state and nation,” said Bradley.
At the event, DeSantis reiterated support for teachers, saying, “Great teachers are what our students need as they re-enter the classroom in the fall, and that’s why this remained a major priority in our budget. Florida was previously 26th in the nation for teacher pay and this announcement puts us in the top five, an over 20 spot jump in one year that reflects an historic investment in teacher compensation.”
House Bill 641, signed into law by the governor at the event, includes the following provisions related to the teacher pay increase:
Establishes the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). The allocation:
• Requires school districts and charter schools to use the allocation to increase the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers to at least $47,500, or to the maximum amount achievable and as specified in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
• Provides for salary increases for full-time classroom teachers who did not receive a salary increase or who received an increase of less than two percent, or as specified in the GAA, and other full-time instructional personnel.
• Repeals the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Program, Florida Best and Brightest Principal Program, and the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Allocation.
• Mandates the funds be used solely to increase teacher salaries and no collective bargaining agreement can alter this requirement.