DeSantis wants Legislature to allocate an additional $200 million for teacher pay

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced an education plan that, if approved by Florida lawmakers, would put more state funds toward teacher salaries and make changes to how teacher unions operate and negotiate teacher compensation packages in the state.

DeSantis’ proposal initially focused on teacher pay, but the governor later pointed out that there is a lot he wants to do to education and leadership at the local level. The governor called for changes to school board term limits and party affiliations, and restrictions on teachers unions, among other proposals.

The governor said he will ask the Republican Legislature to set aside $1 billion for teacher pay increases in the upcoming fiscal year, an amount that would be $200 million more than the current year’s funding on that issue.

The teacher pay proposal, billed as a “teacher empowerment” measure, marks the fifth year in which the governor has made educators’ compensation a top priority. But this year, in addition to funding, he wants to target teachers unions, which state education officials have blamed for delaying agreement on teacher pay plans.

The governor said his proposal will impact how teachers join unions. He said they are welcome to join if they want, but he suggested they should write their own checks and not have their union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks.

“We want more transparency into how that is done,” he said. “We also believe that you should not have the school be a focus of school union politics and politicking and handing out literature and doing all this.”

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