Florida adds more money to teacher pay, as district contract talks continue

The big story: It’s teacher pay.

gov. Ron DeSantis traveled the state on Monday to tout his efforts to increase salaries for Florida public school educators. He said the initiative, which he first promoted three years ago, has helped boost the base pay of thousands of teachers by thousands of dollars.

The latest incarnation refocuses the effort to also do more for veteran teachers who did not benefit from the millions poured into entry-level wages.

“People understand you’re not going to necessarily be a billionaire doing this, but you need to be able to make ends meet,” DeSantis said, as he announced his plan to approve an $800 million budget line item to further bolster salaries. Read the Florida Politics story here. More from the Florida Times Union.

Local union leaders applauded the action, the ledgers reports.

Still, some educators observed that the state did not change the law that requires raises for highly-evaluated teachers on annual contracts to exceed those of teachers on continuing contracts. That requirement leaves disparities in place, they said.

They’re trying to smooth over the differences through contract negotiations of locally-controlled money. Some are having more success than others.

Pinellas County teachers are poised to complete bargaining over a deal that doesn’t get them where they want to be for veterans. In Pasco County, talks about supplements rather than raises are in the works.

Get the latest on the bargaining in this story.

hot topics

Public input: The Pinellas County School Board will consider stricter rules regarding community comments during its meetings. The biggest concern: A decision to stop live streaming the commentary.

Growth: The Flagler County Commission is considering a proposal to allow new home development regardless of whether school capacity is available, Flagler Live reports.

Funding: The Duval County school district is asking voters to increase local property taxes to support school programs. gov. DeSantis warned voters to be sure they get what they pay for, Florida Politics reports.

On leadership

Information about the University of South Florida presidential search campus visits is displayed on the screen at the USF S. Pete University Student Center on Monday, March 21, 2022 in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

The two finalists to become University of South Florida’s next president met with the public on Monday. Trustees are expected to make a selection today.

The Orange County school district will hold several forums to help in seeking a new superintendent. Board members hope to have a candidate selected by the end of June, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The Volusia County School Board is closer to deciding superintendent Scott Fritz’s fate. It has set April 12 as the date to vote on his contract, WFTV reports.

More school news

A required financial literacy high school course is a step closer to reality. The Florida Senate sent a bill creating the graduation mandate to the governor’s desk on Monday, Florida Politics reports.

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A Monroe County Catholic school plans to expand into high school grade levels. It expects to open in 2023, Keys Weekly reports.

Some Osceola County high school seniors hadn’t planned to attend college. Then they learned they can get free tuition at Valencia College or Osceola Technical through a new federally funded program, WESH reports.

From the court docket … An Alachua County judge dismissed a lawsuit aimed at forcing Santa Fe College to repay fees collected while the campus was closed during the coronavirus pandemic, WOFL reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go… If the pop of Charli XCX wasn’t to your liking, consider this new jazz-funk offering from Japanese singer-songwriter Nao Yoshioka.

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