Putting Education Reform To The Test

Governor’s Office Answers Questions About Teacher Raises

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Districts will negotiate with collective bargaining units to determine salary increases for teachers and other school employees.

A lot of teachers must be wondering exactly how the state plans to dole out $480 million in newly approved educator raises.

The governor’s office has created a list of frequently asked questions about the salary increases.

The answers make it clear that the districts must negotiate the pay hikes with the local teachers union – something House Speaker Will Weatherford pointed out before the Legislature approved the funding.

Gov. Rick Scott requested $2,500 across-the-board raises for teachers starting July 1st.

What he got was a compromise. The Florida Legislature found the money for raises, but it won’t be spent exactly as the governor intended.

Teachers will get a pay hike, but so will administrators and other school personnel. Charter and virtual school employees are included.

In some cases, districts may decide that teachers who earn “highly effective” ratings on their evaluations will get more than those rated as “effective.”

Districts must submit their plans for the money to the Florida Department of Education.

Here is a portion of the FAQ list released by the Governor’s Office:  

Q: Is this a one-time bonus or a salary increase?

A: The allocation is for salary increases and related benefits.

Q: Are districts required to pay $2,500 to teachers rated as effective and $3,500 to teachers rated as highly effective?

A: No. Districts may collaborate with bargaining units to determine how salary increases are to be distributed.

Q: If the decision is made locally to distribute funds based on performance, what needs to be included in the performance evaluation?

A: This is to be locally determined. Districts may base salary increases on the performance measured for the 2012-13 school year, plan to distribute based on performance in the 2013-14 year, or distribute funds on another locally agreed upon performance system.

Q: What must the district provide to the state in order to receive funds?

A: In order to receive funds, the district must provide to the department a plan detailing how funds will be distributed to employees, including who is eligible, when funds will be distributed, the salary increase amounts, and evidence of any collective bargaining agreement that was completed. This “distribution plan” must be approved by the local school board.

Q: When are these funds to be allocated?

A: Districts will receive funds as soon as their board-approved plans are submitted to the department. Payments could begin as early as July 2013 if the plans have been received.

Q: Does this allocation change the requirements for teacher evaluations?

A: No. Performance pay for teachers will still go into effect during the 2014-15 fiscal year.


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