Teachers in Bay County are reacting to the Governor's latest proposal that would put more money into their pockets. At Tuesday's State of the State Address, Governor Rick Scott said teachers deserve a $2,500 hike across the board. However, teachers are concerned over what strings may come attached.
"I mean I would be glad to take it, my members would be glad to take $2500," said Diane Wishart, President of the Association of Bay County Educators, a group that says that Scott isn't necessarily an ally.
After being promised budget increases and pay raises, they don't feel like things are where they should be.
"Do they want to do this across the board? Or do they want to do it as a merit pay?" Wishart asked.
Since 2011 the Governor has eliminated teacher tenure. He also introduced performance pay, a system based off teacher evaluations that will take effect in 2014. "I mean it's very flawed, and the state recognizes that, so how can we use that to evaluate our teachers," Wishart said.
On Wednesday, lawmakers already argued over the proposal, requesting to find common ground with the Governor, who wants across the board hikes. Senate President Don Gaetz told the News Service of Florida, there has to be some distinction drawn between he who does the best and he who does the worst.
But democrats want it to pass as is. "With a $2500 raise, and let me emphasize raise, it's not a bonus." Minority Whip Senator Bill Montford said.
"Some say that raises to all teachers may mean that a teacher doing a bad job would gets rewarded, but thanks to our work, we are now in a better position than ever before to reward good teachers and move bad teachers out of the classroom." Governor Rick Scott said.
But Wishart says the term 'bad teachers' shouldn't be in the vocabulary; let's start with raising standards first. "I'm a mother, I wanted my girls to have the best teachers possible, and I feel like all parents feel that way and all teachers feel that way."
The proposed pay raise must be approved by state legislature before it goes into effect. The cost to our budget: $480 million.