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Governor increases heat on school districts to pay up on teacher raises

Gov. Rick Scott, who pressed lawmakers to fund raises for all teachers this year, is again urging school districts to come through with the contract deals to make the raises reality.

Scott, facing a potentially tough reelection bid, sent a letter to superintendents Monday offering assistance to any district that is struggling to complete negotiations on the added pay, with the end of the first semester near. School teachers across the state continue to await the promise of teacher raises as local school boards and state officials struggle to improve a system that judges as many as two-thirds of the state’s teachers on the test scores of students they’ve never met or on subjects they don’t teach. More here. 

"We understand the local negotiation process that every district must go through in order to finalize teacher pay raise amounts, but we urge any district that has not yet reached a final agreement to contact Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart so we can offer any assistance possible to expedite this district-level process," Scott wrote on Monday. He continued:

"Our support for Florida teachers and our education system is stronger than ever.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that Florida had the second largest increase in education spending this year compared to other states.  Florida also had the second largest per pupil increase in education funding on record in the 2013-2014 budget year.  In fact, our budget this year included the most state funding for education ever – a record of more than $10 billion.

"But, all of these numbers represent something more important than money.  This funding is a commitment.  It is a commitment that future generations of Florida workers will have the training, skills and education they need to compete and succeed in a global economy.  Thank you for the leadership in working to make Florida’s education system the best in the world. Your work to quickly finalize teacher pay raises will show the world that we know commitment to the success of Florida students starts with a commitment to Florida teachers."

Scott made a similar push in October.

-- Jeff Solochek, Tampa Bay Times