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2020 Legislative Session

FAQs about the Legislature’s Salary Plan

Updated June 24

On March 19th, four days after the Legislature passed the Teacher Salary Plan, FEA held a Facebook Live event to take questions on the bill’s passage. You’ll find the questions and answers below.

On June 24th, Gov. Ron DeSantis formally signed the bill into law. There is still much that is unknown and will need to be determined locally. But, we hope you find theses FAQs helpful.

We’ve also provided a  PDF file containing these same questions and answers.

Have a question? Email it to advocate@floridaea.org.

When can I expect to see a raise, and how large will the raise be?

The $500 million teacher salary allocation is for the 2020-21 school year. Like all wages, these will be negotiated between your local union and your school district. As far as the amount of the raise, that will vary widely.

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Does this mean that all teachers in Florida will make at least $47,500?

No. One very important thing to note is the $47,500 figure is an aspirational goal set by the governor and the Legislature over a period of years. Very few districts received enough of an investment this year to reach that minimum salary.

We must hold lawmakers accountable to their multiyear commitment. That will be the only way to see significant salary growth.

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How much money will my district get for the teacher salary allocation?

The amount each district will receive is calculated based roughly on enrollment. The chart on page 41 of the conference report lays out the numbers district-by-district

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Must it all be spent on raising the base salary, or is there any money for veteran teachers?

There is no requirement that all the money be spent on rising the base salary. As noted in the General Appropriations Act, 80 percent of the allocation is to be used for increasing the base salary, with the remaining 20 percent for those already above the base salary.

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Will new teachers make more than experienced teachers?

No! Lines 196-198 of House Bill 641 read, “No full-time classroom teacher shall receive a salary less than the minimum base salary … .”

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Will new teachers be making the same amount as more experienced teachers?

This is a little more nuanced than the last question, and it depends on how much of a raise the veteran teacher receives by having their salary adjusted to the new “base salary.” Veteran teachers whose salary increases by less than 2 percent with the new base salary are eligible to have their salary increased even further.

For illustration, let’s imagine that your district is able to get the base salary to $45,000.

A teacher who was working for 10 years and had a salary of $44,500 would see only a $500 increase. This equates to ~1.1 percent increase.

Lines 205-206 of House Bill 641 stipulate that since this teacher received less than a 2 percent increase, they are eligible to be include in the 20 percent of funds to raise salaries of veteran teachers.

Because of the way the money is being distributed, it’s true that veteran teachers will likely see their pay go up less than those at the bottom of the pay scale.

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What about other instructional personnel? Can they make less than new teachers?

That is how the language reads. The “minimum base salary” is for classroom teachers as defined in 1012.01. There is no statutory requirement for other instructional personnel (including media specialists, academic coaches, etc.) to reach that minimum salary.

However, remember all of this must be negotiated. And we are committed to ensuring that the funds are distributed in a way that is as equitable as possible. Contact your local union for more specifics.

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What about prekindergarten teachers? Are they included?

Yes. Line 191 of House Bill 641 makes it clear that the teacher salary allocation is for full-time classroom teachers “plus certified prekindergarten teachers.”

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If I make more than $47,500, will I receive a raise?

Possibly. The $100 million set aside is directed to go toward teachers who receive a 2% raise or less from the raise to minimum base pay — i.e., those who already make more than the floor but who are still underpaid from years of teaching.

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What if my district already pays all its teachers more than $47,500?

Several districts, including Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, already start their teachers near or above $47,500, because of those areas’ higher cost of living.

But they’re still getting funding from the state for raises proportionate to their enrollment, so teachers and instructional personnel will still be getting pay boosts there.

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How does this affect contract negotiations between districts and teachers’ unions?

The state is requiring that the $500 million be used for raises, but it doesn’t dictate many of the details. Those are left up to the districts, which will still bargain with unions. Once they come to an agreement, they will send a report to the Florida Department of Education with their results.

At one point, a bill was proposed that would have required the department to approve districts’ plans for raises before they could be dispersed, but that did not make it into the final version.

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Will I still be receiving a bonus from the state?

No. Lawmakers repealed the Best and Brightest teacher bonuses this year, and moved all the funding from those performance-based bonuses into raises.

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How does all this compare to what Gov. Ron DeSantis requested?

DeSantis had asked for a new $300 million bonus program to replace Best and Brightest, which the Legislature declined.

He had also asked for $600 million to go toward the teacher raises, more than the $500 million lawmakers approved. Lawmakers said that responding to coronavirus played a part in the lower amount.

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