Full-time teachers get $65K base salaries in Florida lawmaker’s new bill

Rep. Tae Edmonds, D-West Palm Beach, filed HB 13 in August

Generic image of a classroom. (Pixabay)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers and certified prekindergarten teachers in Florida will be no less than $65,000 starting next July, subsidized by the state’s education department itself; that is, if a bill filed last month in the House were to reach past the governor’s desk.

Rep. Tae Edmonds, D-West Palm Beach, filed HB 13 — Minimum Base Salary for Full-time Teachers, or the “Save Our Teachers Act” — on Aug. 22, building out from a $47,500 minimum base salary currently afforded to full-time classroom teachers in Florida.

Were HB 13 to be enacted by the Legislature in its current state, more money would be apportioned from the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) to help school districts and charter schools comply with a $65,000 minimum base salary requirement.

Each school district and charter school would similarly be required to develop salary distribution plans and submit them to the district school board or charter school governing body, data which would go on to fill out annual reports for the state. The legislation doesn’t prevent district school boards or charter school governing boards from bargaining over wages, but a collective bargaining impasse would have to be explained in writing with an accompanying timeline for resolution, it states.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in May signed several education bills at a ceremony in Miami. He had proposed some of the measures months earlier in Jacksonville, such as prohibiting teachers’ unions from automatically deducting employees’ paychecks, accusing school districts of shorting teachers and unions of holding their pay hostage.

The FEFP, which Rep. Edmonds proposes should foot the bill for higher minimum base salaries, would go on to secure $26.7 billion in the latest state budget. It was earlier, during the 2020-21 fiscal year, when the Legislature and governor approved $500 million for the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation that brought minimum base salaries to $47,500.

Even after the more-than $3 billion Florida says it’s dedicated to raising teacher pay since 2020, Rep. Edmonds says it’s still not enough.

“The thing I hate the most is talking to teachers and they are telling me that they have two jobs,” Edmonds said. “They have two jobs, a family and you work at night. How do you have the energy and the focus to actually go into a school and teach our kids?”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median teacher pay nationwide is between $61,000 and $62,000.

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Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.