TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – More than 90 days after Gov. Rick Scott signed off a budget which included nearly $500 million earmarked for teacher’s raises, a majority the state’s school districts have still not finalized negotiations to distribute the money.
As of Tuesday, only 16 of the state’s 67 school districts had negotiated with their unions and ratified collective bargaining agreements for teachers that resulted in pay raises.
On Monday, United Teachers of Dade announced they had reached a tentative agreement with the school district.
Broward and Monroe counties were among the 50 remaining school districts that had yet to finalize agreements.
On Tuesday, Gov. Scott sent a letter to all the school districts urging those that had not reached an agreement to do so in the near future.
“For those districts that have not yet finalized collective bargaining agreements on teacher pay raises, I have asked the Commissioner of Education to provide any support and guidance superintendents need to come to a final agreement quickly,” wrote Scott.” 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 their futures.”
According to the $70 million deal worked out in Miami, teachers would receive a 6.5 percent average increase. Most teachers told CBS4 it’s a step in the right direction, though they added it wasn’t exactly the $2,500 raise Gov. Rick Scott promised earlier in the year.
“He promised $2,500 to every teacher but didn’t send the resources to do that,” said Antonio White, who teaches business technology education at Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy and sits on the executive board of UTD..
When asked about this, Scott’s office sent the following statement to CBS4.
“Governor Scott was happy to work with the Legislature to provide a historic $480 million in funding so every Florida teacher could get a well-deserved raise,” wrote John Tupps with governor’s press office.
White said better pay will make a difference in the classroom.
“I would think if you would want children to have the best working conditions you’d need to provide better working conditions for those who teach children,” he said, adding, “It’s kind of hard to stay focused taking care of someone else’s child every day when you’re worried about how you’re going to make do with your own.”
Dade teachers in the union will hold a vote to ratify their deal later this month.