Multiple school districts in Florida are at an impasse with the Florida Education Association (FEA) teachers’ union when it comes to distributing pay raises to teachers, which pay raises will come from a sum of $800 million. School districts blamed the teachers’ union for stalling their efforts to raise teacher pay, but the FEA did not agree with the districts’ criticism.
The pay raise proposal is intended to raise Florida’s teacher salaries to the annual minimum salary of $47,500, which is higher than the 2021 annual teacher salary of $44,040.
FEA said that it was unfair to solely blame them for halting pay raises for teachers, with union president Andrew Spar returning fire and blaming school districts for “maligning teachers.” Instead, Spar said that the union is holding out over issues of teacher retention and filling open teacher positions throughout the Sunshine State. Even though the state proposed a pay raise for teachers, the FEA said that the state plan only addressed entry-level pay and ignored the needs of experienced teachers.
Hillsborough County Superintendent, Addison Davis, said that his school district has to negotiate with the teachers’ unions since it is the sole collective bargaining agent. Other superintendents said that their offers were not well-received by teachers’ unions.
The pay raise issue has been at a standstill since the state’s October 2022 deadline, where school districts had to submit a plan to raise teacher pay to the state’s Department of Education. Several school districts submitted plans, but these plans are still on hold due to the negotiation standstill. Overall, 41 school districts missed the deadline, with 19 school districts making the deadline.
It is ironic that teachers’ unions, like the FEA, claim that they are working for their members to raise pay but continue to stall efforts to raise teacher pay.