ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said 2020 will be 'the year of the teacher' when he rolled out his proposal to boost starting teacher pay to $47,500 in the state.
On the surface it seems like a move in the right direction, but the Florida Education Association says otherwise. FEA president Fedrick Ingram joined anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com” to explain why he’s against the governor’s proposal and what he’d like to see instead.
"This minimum salary does not equate the fact that we have ten-year teachers, fifteen-year teachers, twenty-year teachers who won't benefit from this infusion of dollars from the state," Ingram said. "In essence, you could have a beginning teacher teaching in Orange County making $47,500 and you could have a twenty-year veteran who makes the same dollar amount."
Ingram said the FEA is looking for a decade of progress instead, citing the lack of funding Florida education has received since 2008.
“We’re calling for $22 billion over a ten-year period,” Ingram said. “What that money does is, first of all, it puts students first. It takes care of band programs and art programs because many of our teachers and educational support professionals spend their own money on our children.”
"It also puts in enough money to give every single public school employee a 10 percent raise across the board," Ingram continued. "That is how you cure the ills of teacher shortages and the moral that we need our classrooms."
Orange County Classroom Teachers Association president Wendy Doromal also joined the program to discuss the tentative agreement the union reached with the Orange County School Board.
"We have probably have the highest salary increase in the state this year, a 5.5 percent average." Doromal said. "We also got the school board to hold off on increasing insurance benefits for a whole year, so the county is picking up the tab for that."
The FEA has organized a rally for teachers in Tallahassee on January 13, 2020, hoping to get their point across to lawmakers ahead of the legislative session.