StateImpact Florida
1:01 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott Really Wants Florida School Districts To Spend Teacher Money

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:53 am

School districts must come up with their own distribution plans for teacher raises.

nuchylee / freedigitalphotos.net

School districts must come up with their own distribution plans for teacher raises.

Back in May, Gov. Rick Scott took a victory lap after the Florida Legislature approved $480 million for teacher pay raises.

“It’s a great day for teachers. It’s also a great day for students,” he said at the time.

Seven months later, Scott’s wheedling school districts to actually spend that money.

The raises—intended to start at $2,500 per teacher—have to be negotiated through unions and the districts must come up with their own distribution plans. It’s been a protracted process in many counties and Scott, who is up for reelection in 2014, would like to see it sped up.

“With only about four weeks left until the end of the year, we urge every school district that has not finalized negotiations to implement teacher pay raises to do so immediately,” Scott wrote in a letter to Florida superintendents on Monday.

The next day, Scott’s office sent out an update of which counties are close to distributing the money:

Eight Additional School Districts who recently finalized a teacher pay raise

Bay, Broward, Collier, Gilchrist, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lafayette, and Suwannee

All 34 School Districts who have finalized payments for a teacher pay raise with the Florida Department of Education

Baker, Bay, Broward, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Leon, Manatee, Okaloosa, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla

All 14 Schools Districts who have finalized negotiations for a teacher pay raise

Alachua, Brevard, Charlotte, Gadsden, Jefferson, Lake, Lee, Liberty, Madison, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, Santa Rosa, and Seminole

The governor’s tally did not name the counties that are nowhere near an agreement on how to spend the money.

In 2011, Scott and state lawmakers were criticized by education advocates for cutting $1.3 billion in education funding Roughly $2 billion has since been added back to the education budget over the past two legislative sessions—though per-pupil spending is still less than what it was before the recession.

Copyright 2013 StateImpact Florida. To see more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/.