Gov. DeSantis touts high starting teacher salaries at $47,500 in FL

Gov. Ron DeSantis' State of the State Address, with men outnumbering women in the chamber. Credit: Screenshot, Florida Channel

In his State of the State Address on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis touted starting salaries of $47,500 for public school teachers, which would push those minimum salaries to the 2nd highest in the nation.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and others in the House of Representatives clapped and cheered for the salary boosts, on the first day of Florida’s legislative session.

The Florida Education Association and Democrats have said they want higher salaries for all school staff, not just teachers. And some conservatives in the Legislature may not go for the salary boosts.

The FEA responded to the governor’s proposals, saying in a news release the DeSantis “has begun to see the light on the need for increased teacher salaries. However, a proposal that fails to reward veteran teachers for their skill and years of experience will fail to cure this state’s ongoing and ever-worsening educator shortage, as will yet another doomed-to-fail bonus scheme.”

The state union also criticized the governor’s pay proposal because it fails to boost pay for counselors, librarians, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and other staffers — not just teachers.

The FEA has called for a “Decade of Progress” starting with a $2.4 billion investment in public education this legislative session, according to the news release.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.