Gov. Rick Scott calls for teacher raises; controversial grading remains

$2,500 pay increase, grading scale both subject to scrutiny

Published On: Oct 15 2013 12:14:40 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on school districts across the state to approve pay raises for teachers.

Scott this year pledged $480 million so that teachers could get a $2,500 across the board pay raise. Legislators set aside the money, but they gave school districts leeway in how the raises could be handed out.

So far only 16 out of 67 school districts had completed negotiations with local unions over the pay raises.

Scott sent out a letter to school superintendents Tuesday where he said teachers "deserve" a pay raise. He added teachers should know their new salary level as soon as possible.

He said he asked Education Commissioner Pam Stewart to help districts to find a quick resolution to pay raise negotiations.

Meanwhile, Florida is also going to keep in place a controversial safety net provision for the state's school grading system.

The State Board of Education voted by a 4-2 margin on Tuesday to keep in place a rule that would limit a school's A-to-F grade from dropping more than one letter at a time.

The rule when first proposed earlier this year was called "temporary."

But state education officials argue that the safety net provision is needed until the state completely transitions to new standards. Those new standards -- which have come under fire from conservative groups -- take effect during the 2014-15 school year.

Some board members criticized the decision to keep the safety net in place until school grades are handed out in the summer of 2016.