JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — $60,477 is the average amount a school teacher is getting paid here in the United States, according to statistics from the Florida Education Association.
If you work in a classroom in Florida, that paycheck is much less.
Action News Jax's Courtney Cole is taking a closer look at how much teachers are making locally and how much money local school districts could receive from Gov. Ron Desantis to help change that.
"I don't think school teachers are paid enough,” said Curtis Anderson.
And many would agree with him.
“Oftentimes, you'll have people that will join the profession and then leave because they can't maintain a lifestyle similar to those around them. The ability to pay teachers who are experienced—and school administrators who are experienced— I think is a huge benefit as well,” said Anderson.
He told Cole he’s been working in the school system for more than two decades.
“If you're trying to attract some of the best people to work with our greatest resource, which is our children, it does not match what similar professions would be starting at, as far as wage goes,” Anderson told Cole.
Two weeks ago, Action News Jax reported Gov. DeSantis wants to set aside more than $600 million dollars to raise minimum salaries to $47,500 for full-time teachers.
The governor's office told Cole if the teacher is experienced and already making at least $47,500, they won’t receive an automatic bump in pay.
Instead, they'll be eligible to receive financial incentives, which will be based on merit.
Here's a look at how much of that money, some of our local school districts would receive if the budget is approved to increase teacher pay:
- Duval County would stand to get about $29.4M
- St. Johns County would only get about $9.8M
- Clay County would we about $14.4M
- Nassau County would receive $3.3M
Right now, if you're a beginning teacher in Duval County, you start out making $39,500.
In St. Johns County, beginning teachers start out making $500 less, at $39,000. The school district told Cole that was just recently negotiated.
"It's unfortunate, because they're just really important to the community in general. So for them not to be compensated, it's just sad. They're more deserving,” said Chelsea Reyes.
The Florida Education Association would like to see $22B put into public education over ten years.
But Anderson told Action News Jax, he thinks the governor's proposal is at least a step in the right direction.
"This is an opportunity for the state to really say that we are valuing our children than we have before and to pay it forward to future generations. I think you can't go wrong with that,” said Anderson.
© 2019 Cox Media Group