Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CONTACT: John Schuster
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho and Broward County Superintendent Robert W. Runcie voiced strong concern today over legislation agreed upon by the Florida House and Senate regarding teacher pay raises.  The raises, which were originally proposed by Florida Governor Rick Scott, would not be delivered to teachers for approximately 14 months.

“We are appalled over this turn of events in Tallahassee,” said Carvalho.  “The Governor promised recognition for our teachers, but this new set of restrictions in the Legislature’s conforming bill that makes these funds unavailable for 14 months is disappointing.”

The proposed legislation includes $2,500 raises for teachers and up to $3,500 raises for “highly effective” teachers, as well as raises for principals and assistant principals. Both superintendents have calculated the impact on their districts and have discovered that these expenditures, along with earmarks for McKay Scholarships and retirement contribution, produce deficits rather than increases.  “The math simply does not add up,” said Runcie. “With 80 percent of funds earmarked, we will be working at a deficit.  School districts are performing well, so the state doesn’t need to micromanage them with funding earmarks.”

The Legislature is claiming a $134 million increase for Miami-Dade County Public Schools this year, but subtracting $64 million for salary increases, $34 million for McKay Scholarships and $37 million for Florida Retirement System diminishes any increase. The entire salary allocation must be untouched until June 2014, and between now and then an entirely new legislative session will have occurred.

Superintendents from other Florida school districts have added to the discussion. “What we need to do is release the money to the districts and ask them to be creative in finding their own models that would get this to our teachers as quickly as possible,” said Superintendent of Leon Schools Jackie Pons. “I don’t feel like they should have to wait over a year for a raise that they’ve already earned.”

Carvalho pointed out that this legislation, if enacted will have a terrible impact on teacher morale.  “The promise that was made on the front end is being broken on the back end.” 


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