TALLAHASSEE — As Gov. DeSantis releases his state budget recommendations for 2023-2024, the Florida Education Association (FEA) calls on lawmakers to invest in the public schools that educate nearly 90 percent of Florida’s children. Our students deserve and need strong public schools.
“The plain fact is, our students need educators. Florida is facing a critical shortage of teachers and staff, and the problem has grown worse under Gov. DeSantis,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “If we are serious about providing students with a world-class education that fosters a love of learning and prepares kids for future success, lawmakers must invest in fair, competitive salaries that will help retain and recruit the people who make that happen.”
While the governor touts $1 billion for teacher pay and blames teachers for their own low salaries, the actual increase in his budget is $200 million, which would work out to less than $20 per week for each teacher in our public schools. That’s not going to do much to move the needle, given that Florida ranks 48th in the nation for average teacher pay. Pay in the third-largest state can and should rank in the top 10 nationally.
“An approximately $20 per week increase will do little for many teachers who are struggling, like so many Floridians, with rent that has doubled under this governor, homeowners insurance that has doubled under this governor, health care costs, which have shot up under this governor, and other increased expenses,” Spar said. “The professionals who serve Florida’s children deserve salaries that will support their own families.”
Additionally, FEA calls on lawmakers in the upcoming session to address the more than 20 laws and rules that govern teacher pay. Due to those laws and rules, teachers with years in the classroom face an “experience penalty” that can leave them making little more than new hires.
Educators deserve fair salaries that value experience and training, and that recognize the demanding nature and deep importance of their work. We all want to ensure that every child — regardless of race, background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ZIP code or ability — gets the education that he or she deserves and needs at fully resourced and staffed public schools.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, email@example.com, (850) 201-3223
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.