JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County teachers have finally been given the green light to cash in on their share of $480 million that Gov. Rick Scott set aside for what he called teacher raises.
The funds were awarded four months ago. On Oct. 15, Scott sent a letter to Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti essentially calling the district out for dragging its feet on reaching a final deal to get Duval teachers their money. It took Duval County almost a full month more to act.
Action News asked Vitti what took so long.
"Just negotiating, working out the details. I think we were always very close. It was just trying to iron out the details and I'm glad we were able to do it before the holidays," he said.
A total of $21 million is flowing into Duval County Public Schools employees' pockets. That equals a bump in pay of about $2,000 for each qualified teacher.
Colleen Wood, founder of advocacy group 50th No More, said it's not fair to call this a pay raise -- at any given time, the funding could be taken out of the state budget.
"I don't really think that the salary that we pay our teachers should be dependent upon whether the governor wants to add it in that year or not," Wood said. "I think we'd be better off if we took the politics out of their pay schedule."
Vitti said while the funds are designed to be annual, the bump in pay will not be factored into a teachers salary at the start of each school year. They will receive an additional $2,000 after it is approved each year in the state budget.
According to Duval County Public Schools, top administrators, including Vitti, did not receive any of the funding