TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott wants to give a $2,500 across the board pay raise to every full time teacher in the state.
Scott is announcing his proposal Wednesday afternoon in Ocoee.
The governor will include the pay raise as part of the 2013 budget recommendations he will give to state legislators. The pay raise is expected to cost $480 million. It will also have to be approved by school boards in local counties.
Scott during his first year in office approved cuts to public school funding
But last year he sought a $1 billion increase but left it to local school boards to determine how much, if any, would go to pay raises.
There are about 168,000 teachers statewide.
But local union leaders are skeptical about the pay increase.
Donna Mutzenard with the Lee County teachers union says, "sounds great, where's the money coming from? What strings are going to be attached to it? What about the other people who work for the school system?"
She says it will also have to go through collective bargaining between the union and local leaders and there are a lot of unanswered questions. "Do teachers deserve a salary increase? Absolutely. It's just going to be very complicated and it also has to go through the legislature." She also says the timing of the announcement is suspect, after Governor Scott has cut education funding in the past. "Elections are coming up in 2014 and the governor has stated that he likes the job and wants the job again so absolutely it's a good will gesture."
Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke says, "I think it's a great idea for the governor to make a commitment to raise teachers' salaries in the state. I think its overdue for something like that, an initiative from the state." But he also says he's not sure if a $2,500 flat raise across the board is the best idea.
He adds, "how that actually gets implemented is going to be a complicated process. What the legislature does and what happens on the local level."
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