WELLINGTON, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that Florida is continuing efforts to support public school teachers.
During a news conference at Renaissance Charter School at Wellington, the governor said he's approving $800 million in the state's budget toward increased teacher compensation.
"You want to recruit more people to come in, they gotta be able to afford to be able to be teachers," DeSantis said.
He detailed efforts Florida has made over the past three years to support educators, including the $1,000 bonuses that every teacher and principal in the state received last year. DeSantis highlighted the importance of teachers in the education of our children, especially the extra efforts they took during the pandemic to accommodate virtual learning and quarantine periods.
He also touted the state's record in providing higher salaries for school employees.
"Only 12% of school districts across the United States have teachers start at over $40,000," DeSantis said. “In Florida...92% of ours are already above that."
“We’re really way ahead of the curve nationally on that issue," he continued.
The state budget, which Florida lawmakers approved earlier this month, boosts the minimum salary for teachers to at least $47,000. DeSantis didn't directly mention this during Monday's news conference nor say when he plans to approve the final budget.
During the 2019-20 school year, the National Education Association reported Florida ranked No. 30 in terms of starting teacher salary ($38,724). If it were raised to at least $47,000, it would rank among the Top 10 based on the previous years' data.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran joined the governor to speak on what this announcement means for students.
"What we know is that elevating and celebrating teachers, it’s the single most important factor to the success of a child," he said. "Not only is K-12 education the backbone of America, the backbone of the backbone are teachers."
The state budget, which Florida lawmakers approved earlier this month, boosts the minimum salary for teachers to at least $47,500. DeSantis didn't directly mention this during Monday's news conference nor say when he plans to approve the final budget.