published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Critics doubt Governor's sincerity in proposed teacher raise
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- On Jan. 24, Governor Rick Scott proposed $480 million additional allocation for education in his new budget to cover a $2,500 annual raise for each Florida full-time teacher.
In a press release, Scott said, "I am focused on the fact that our teachers have done a great job ... We believe in teacher accountability and we know our teachers do too. With the new performance system in place, now is the time to increase our investment in Florida's teachers with an across-the-board raise."
School Superintendent Wally Cox, currently the president of the Florida School Board Superintendent's Association, but speaking only for himself, said, "We (at the district) are glad the Governor is recognizing the contribution teachers have made in improving student scores."
He warned, however, that the proposal is in process and has to be approved by the Legislature and the teacher's union before it would come into effect.
The proposed raise actually made Steven Picklesimer, science teacher at Sebring High School and president of the local teacher's union, angry.
"The Governors' budget is the wish list given to legislators to do with what they want. It is a political tool for the Governor to buy some public opinion," he said.
"If (the governor) cared about teachers he would give us back the 3 percent they took (towards our pension benefit) and then talk about more money.
"Not to mention we had a 2 percent reduction prior to the new year, and now we lost the payroll deduction. Teachers in Florida are 5 percent lower in pay this year (2013).
"Now add the fact that our salaries have not gone up since 2007, and since then we had two years where we did not receive an experience step.
"In addition," Picklesimer told the News-Sun, "since 2007 the cost of living has gone up 6.4 percent and we have seen no increase in pay."
Critics are also concerned that the proposed raise only affects full-time teachers. Why aren't paras, psychologists and social workers also included, or any member of the educational team at a school, they ask.
The issue will be addressed in the upcoming regular Florida legislative session.
(by: para - 1/30/2013)
Dear I_Am_Anonymous — Thank you for pointing out the difference between a teacher and someone who is not.
meh (by: I_Am_Anonymous - 1/30/2013)
Poorly written story.
Selfish? (by: A. Teacher - 1/29/2013)
You will never have the ability to fathom the sacrifices teachers make. We daily sacrifice ourselves, our spouses and our OWN children and dedicate our time and energy to YOUR children.
Deserving (by: NAR - 1/29/2013)
Blindman must be retired and has been on the gravy train since... Part of the reason teachers and public servants go into thease jobs is because of the retirement benifits and selfless service to other people. These are the middle class that drive this economy. Its time to pull their heads above water to breath.
ungrateful (by: Genius - 1/28/2013)
The guy is trying to do right by the teachers and you still find a reason to complain? Yet you'll be the first to take the raise. If you don't like your pay GET A NEW JOB. Be thankful you have a job!!!
Greed (by: Blindman - 1/27/2013)
Does Mr. Picklesimer realize our economy has been in recession for the last 5 years? Many businesses have been destroyed, owners and employees devastated, incomes cut in half, savings depleted to the point of desperation, all the while, over 3 million members of the largest union in America, the National Education Association collectively complain about their pay. You people need to think about what your students families are going through and less about yourselves. Teacher's selfish demands burden the student's families and ultimately the students themselves but the teachers are so much smarter than the students, and the students never know. Shame on you selfish teachers, unwilling to sacrifice anything and ask America to bear "ALL" the burden!
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