TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — According to the National Education Association, in 2021, Florida ranked 30th in the nation for average teacher starting salary at just over $38,000 a year.
Today, that's all supposed to change for the better, but local school leaders say...
"More can be done."
Scott Mazur is the President of the Leon Classroom Teachers Association. He says teachers shouldn't have to fight for every penny, every year.
"It's just one year and these are people that are in it for a career, and they would like to know what their career path is, not have to go ahead and negotiate every single year over pennies and cents that the legislature is providing because they're really focusing on their students they want to focus on the kids in their classroom, they want to do their job."
Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis approved $800 million to increase salaries and raises for teachers across Florida.
"To continue to increase teacher salaries is a really, really big deal."
The Governor says this will boost the average starting salary to at least $47,000 a year, pushing it to 9th in the nation.
Back in 2020, DeSantis approved $500 million to increase the average minimum teacher salary to $47,500 a year.
"There wasn't enough money to do it."
On top of that, Mazur says it only targeted new teachers, leaving veteran teachers in the dust.
The latest round of funding is supposed to address that.
"If you're not putting that same effort into retaining teachers who come there, who live there, and want to stay there, you're going to have a turnover over and over again."
Judith Mandela is the President of Gadsden County Classroom Teachers Association.
"Some of that tends to go to private schools which is one of their issues but you have to absolutely must fund public schools and public educators for this to be the strongest public school system in the nation."
According to the NEA, in 2021, Florida ranked 49th in the nation for average teacher salary at just over $49,000 a year.