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Gov. Rick Scott urges school districts to finalize teacher raises

@tbtia

UPDATE: At least one school system says it was incorrectly called out by the governor's office as having not yet finalized negotiations for teacher pay raises. A spokeswoman for the Pinellas County School Board brought it to our attention that members approved the pay raises on Sept. 24. The agreement had already been ratified by the teacher union, the spokeswoman said. The raises are retroactive to July 1, the start of the budget year.

Pinellas County has asked Scott's office to correct the error. So the new count is 17 have finalized the pay raises and 50 have not.

ORIGINAL POST: In a letter to the 67 school superintendents, Gov. Rick Scott offers state help as they iron out pay raises for teachers.

The majority of school districts have not finalized collective bargaining agreements with teacher unions to implement raises. Only 16 of 67 counties have ratified new contracts.

Miami-Dade school system and the United Teachers of Dade reached a tentative agreement Monday that will give most teachers the $2,500 raise Scott promised. In addition to the money from the state, the district had to tap into federal Race to the Top money to pay for the increases.

Scott wants to speed up the process to fulfill one of his priorities from the 2013 legislative session. In today's letter, he said he directed Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart to assist any districts that need help reaching a final agreement.

"Florida teachers deserve a salary increase, and they should have the benefit of knowing their new salary level as soon as possible so they can best plan for the future," Scott wrote.

Scott insisted the budget include $480 million for teacher raises and has courted the support of teachers as he gears up for re-election.

Click here to download Scott's letter to school districts.

Staff writer Kat McGrory contributed to this report.

Comments

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Michael Ree

In Duval County alone, Executive Director of Save Duval Schools Colleen Wood estimated 90 million will be cut from the public school budget to make up for Scott's proposed budget cuts. "It's important as a community that we decide what our priorities are," Wood said earlier this month.

Scott has defended the budget, saying that cutting taxes is priority number one. "We can't spend more than we take in, we can't," he said.

His budget proposal contained more than $4 billion in budget cuts, $1.4 billion of that being property taxes, which largely fund public school education.

Wood contends that the governor's cuts would take teachers out of the classrooms, and harm children in the long run, but the governor insists the cuts are worth it. "It's a budget designed to reduce state spending, lower taxes, and hold your government accountable," Scott said.

Brian

Gov. Scott's teacher pay raise is an election year stunt... he funds one time raises for teachers, then shifts the raises to local school boards all while limiting their ability to pay for the raises.

Scott is a joke

Umm, yeah Ricky Scotty. We see past this. We'll take the raise and still not vote for you.

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