TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools passed a teacher pay increase at the school board meeting on Tuesday and after months of delay, Chromebooks for Leon County students have arrived. There was also a unanimous vote supporting the highly debated Children's Service Council.
"We can never pay our teachers enough," said Rocky Hanna, the superintendent of LCS.
But Leon County Schools says they will try, giving all full-time teachers a pay raise.
Full-time teachers will now make $43,304 as opposed to $37,500. Current teachers making less than that will meet that new salary as well.
"I'm so happy about the teacher raises and the Chromebooks," said Leon County Schools board member Roseanne Wood.
To deal with added taxes, another $3,000 will be allocated to full-time teachers too.
"This is the time to show teachers monetarily the best we can for now how valued and how important they are," Hanna said.
The effort was accomplished with the help of the Leon Classroom Teachers Association using money from the district combined with money from the state.
"I couldn't be happier to agree that if there ever was a year to do it this was the one," DeeDee Rassmussen, a board member with LCS said.
This was what they could do now with a budget impacted by the pandemic.
"The total allocation was about $5.3 million," said Kim Banks, the CFO for LCS. "Eighty percent of the funds needed to be spent to solely raise our beginning teacher base."
Another 20 percent went to raises for teachers who aren't assigned classrooms, like media and guidance counselors.
As for the Chromebooks, 2,500 of the districts 34,000 Chromebooks have arrived. The remainder will arrive in increments every few days.
Three schools will get the devices first starting on Thursday.
Hanna says they are still working toward the $47,500 raise that the Governor provided funds for earlier in the year.
Governor Ron DeSantis approved signed a bill on June 24 that provides $500 million to increase the minimum salary for public and charter school teachers in Florida.
DeSantis said at the time he wanted to take Florida from number 26 in the nation for average minimum teacher salary to the top five.
"With this increase in teacher pay, I think it's time for us to workshop in some context pathways to careers in education in our school district," said Daryl Jones, a Leon County Schools board member. "So we can start to retain some of that talent, so there isn't the flight to leave."
Jones also said the board must take into consideration salary raises for administrators and principals.