In an effort to attract and the best teachers, starting pay for teachers in Florida would be set at $50,000 under a bill introduced Wednesday.
The Florida Teacher Fair Pay Act would require the legislature to fund the Florida Education Finance Program to ensure a starting salary of $50,000 for teachers represented by a teachers’ union. SB 280 was introduced by Sen. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee. There is no companion bill in the House.
Each district negotiates with its teachers union to set the base pay. However, the bill would prohibit districts from setting a starting salary below $50,000. The bill also requires the Dept. of Education to raise teacher salaries annually using the prior year’s inflation rate.
In Palm Beach County, teacher salaries – totaling $624 million alone or $824 million when calculated with benefits – are the largest chunk of the district’s $1.6 billion operating budget. The district has increased teacher salaries by 8 percent over the past two years. That increase included a raise of the first year base salary by $1,000 to $39,000.
The average salary for school teachers in the U.S. was $56,643 in 2011-12.