BRADENTON – Though he's struggled to get much of his stated agenda addressed in this year's legislative session, it looks like Florida Governor Rick Scott will be able to make good on his promise to raise long-stagnant teacher salaries. Last week, the Florida House and Senate came together on a somewhat convoluted plan that, while not quite what Scott proposed, still looks better than many had anticipated.
The main sticking point had been merit pay, which Republicans, especially in the House, were adamant to tie to any pay increases, though Scott had called for "across the board" raises of $2,500 per teacher. House and Senate budget negotiators eventually agreed to use a student achievement benchmark, however, local school boards will have the final say on how the raises are issued.
According to the schedule, a teacher who receives a ranking of “effective” will be rewarded with a $2,500 pay raise, while a teacher graded to be “highly effective” will be rewarded with $3,500 pay raise. House Speaker Will Weatherford, however, acknowledged that the way the funding is awarded to districts, their collective bargaining agreements with teachers will ultimately decide how the raises are awarded.
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