Volusia schools expect to receive $10.2 million for teacher raises

Volusia County teachers better think twice before spending the $2,500 raise Gov. Rick Scott has been touting for months because their paychecks aren't likely to grow by that much. That's the word from Volusia Teachers Organization President Andrew Spar and School Superintendent Margaret Smith, who said the $10.2 million Florida lawmakers earmarked for instructional staff raises in Volusia isn't enough to pay for raises that large and related benefits. "It's about $2.5 million short of that," Spar said. Scott proposed a $2,500 across-the-board pay raise for full-time classroom teachers back in January as part of his plan to boost education spending in light of the state's improving economic condition. The state budget lawmakers approved Friday offers $1.2 billion extra for public schools, including $480 million for instructional staff raises. The pay hikes must be tied in part to student achievement, lawmakers mandated, but they left it up to school boards and teachers' unions to work out the details of their district's plan through collective bargaining. "There's going to be flexibility, no doubt about it," Smith said in an interview Tuesday after the Volusia School Board finished its fifth workshop aimed at balancing the budget for the year that will start July 1. How much flexibility remains to be seen, as school district and union officials await details from the Florida Department of Education on just what is allowed under the plan approved by the Legislature. They expect to receive that information no later than next week. Negotiators for the two sides will begin talks this afternoon on a new contract for next school year.



Teachers rally for raises as Scott campaigns in Ocoee

“Fund what you value.” That was the rallying crying for members of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, who are hoping to get a pay raise next school year from Orange County Public Schools. The $480 million in state funding needed for the raises has already been approved by the Florida Legislature. However, state lawmakers can only set guidelines. The details of how much individual teachers will receive as a pay raise will have to be agreed upon by individual school districts and local teachers unions. Tuesday was National Teacher Appreciation Day, but instead of celebrating, teachers rallied for pay increases. "I teach at a Title 1 school, and so a lot of the children come in without supplies. I spend over $2,000 a year out of my pocket alone.  So it will help me tremendously to bring back to my family because I know I take it from my son and my husband,” explained Orlo Vista Elementary School kindergarten teacher Pam Owens. "I can only deduct $250 out of the $5,000 that I spend on my class last year,” said Westside Tech Veterinarian teacher Terri Barton. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott stopped by Ocoee Middle School on Tuesday afternoon. Scott touted the $480 million in state funding for teacher raises he helped secure.  Scott’s office said the raises will be permanent. However, they will be tied to teacher performance ratings, with $2,500 set aside for teachers with effective ratings, and up to $3,500 set aside for teachers with highly effective performance ratings. Orange County Classroom Teachers Association President Diana Moore said local teachers have already waited far too long for pay raises. "We're $10,000 behind the national salaries, then you might want to cross the line to Georgia to make more money or North Carolina to make more money. I don't think our parents in our community want our teachers to do that,” said Moore.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-governor-scott-teacher-raises-20130507,0,5001313.story (Diana Moore and members quoted)


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