Gov. DeSantis recommends higher starting salaries for Florida teachers

The governor said he would recommend a higher minimum starting salary for all Florida teachers in the next legislative session on Monday morning.

Onetia Cameron, who is studying to be a teacher at Florida Gulf Coast University, has financial hesitation about the teaching profession.

“I recently became a realtor only because I was nervous about the pay for teachers,” Cameron said.

A classmate of hers has the same concerns about money, but said she does not want to be a person who dreads waking up in the morning.

“I knew working with kids,” Mackenzie Ryan said, “I would love my job every day.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis made an announcement Monday for pay raises for over 101,000 teachers in Florida, with the minimum starting salary of $47,500.

Right now, Florida ranks 26th in the nation for starting teacher pay, according to the National Education Association. If approved, Florida would rank second in the country for the highest starting salary for teachers.

The governor intends the reform to attract more people into the teaching profession and retain them for their full careers.

“We are experiencing a teacher shortage in Florida,” DeSantis said. “With a strong economy and plenty of jobs available in other fields, unfortunately too many college graduates are unwilling to enter the teaching profession.

“My proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500,” he added, “will help alleviate this shortage and elevate the teaching profession to the level of appreciation it deserves.”

In Lee County, the district hires teachers starting at $40,500. In Collier County, the starting salary is $43,000. While in Charlotte County, pay begins at $38,000.

Angela Pruitt, chief human resource officer for the School District of Lee County, said retention is as imperative as recruitment.

“We certainly hope the conversation will continue and it will include additional funding that we can use for the retention piece,” Pruitt said.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Michael Mora
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