Today, May 26, 2021, teachers, school principals, and superintendents in Baker County, Sarasota County and Okaloosa County joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to announce $765 million in funding to support Florida’s teachers. These investments include $550 million to continue elevating minimum teacher salaries, as well as $215 million to provide all of Florida’s eligible public school principals and teachers with $1,000 disaster relief payments.
Governor DeSantis worked with the Florida Legislature to fight for continued funding to support Florida’s teachers through the Florida Leads budget, and for the $550 million to continue to raise minimum teacher salaries represents an additional $50 million over last year’s historic $500 million investment. Over the past year, minimum pay for Florida’s teachers increased by an average of $6,000 from $40,000 to $46,000. Overall, 68 of Florida’s 74 school districts (92 percent) now have a starting salary of $40,000 or higher.
“While most other states locked down their schools, Florida followed the science and opened our schools for in-person instruction, five days a week,” said Governor DeSantis. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our teachers and school leaders Florida succeeded where so many other states failed. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication during this school year and these bonuses are a small way to say thank you on behalf of our state. My thanks also go to Speaker Sprowls, Senate President Simpson, Senator Stargel, and Representative Trumbull for their leadership during the 2021 legislative session to make this funding a reality.”
“Governor DeSantis has proven once again that Florida is the Education State,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “His exceptional leadership and bold vision has taken Florida’s minimum teacher salaries to an average of $46,000, and his focus on celebrating and elevating our educators is unparalleled. The way to ensure that Florida has the best teachers is to outpace the nation in minimum teacher pay and to reward, recruit, and retain the best teaching talent possible. Thank you to the Florida Legislature for heeding the Governor’s request to prioritize our state’s educators.”
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Since day one, Florida’s teachers and first responders have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, working tirelessly to protect our communities and care for our students. The bonus checks that Governor DeSantis proposed, and secured from the Legislature, means a lot to these educators, our first responders and their families who endured through this crisis with them. These heroes are the backbone of our communities and today the Governor sent a clear message that Florida loves and appreciates their hard work and dedication. I thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership throughout these challenging times and for putting families first as we work together to move Florida forward.”
“Dedicated teachers across Florida have gone above and beyond over the last 18 months to make certain our students have every opportunity to continue to make learning gains in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “In addition to increases in funds available specifically for teacher salary increases, I hope these bonuses will demonstrate just how much our state appreciates and values the contributions of Florida’s teachers.”
“During this pandemic, we were reminded of the importance of Florida’s teachers to our children,” said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “While other states kept their schools closed, Florida opened them up and allowed students to return to normalcy. I applaud Florida’s teachers for stepping up and giving students the ability to learn in-person, from the classroom. Thank you Governor Ron DeSantis for these bonuses.”
“We are so proud of the work our teachers have done over the last year, innovating every step of the way,” said Senator Kelli Stargel. “They have had to make so many adjustments and have worked so hard to make sure every child has a chance to learn. This bonus is so well deserved, and along with an increase in our teacher salary increase allocation, demonstrates our commitment to Florida teachers and the service they provide to our state.”
“Ensuring that our children had access to in-person education during the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps the most important task our state faced in the past year,” said Representative Jay Trumbull. “Florida’s teachers and principals went above and beyond this school year under unprecedented circumstances. I would like to thank Governor DeSantis and Speaker Sprowls for their tireless leadership in securing this well-deserved $1,000 bonus for the heroes in Florida’s classrooms.”