After it appeared the House and Senate had agreed on spending $500 million to increase teacher salaries, the Senate on Sunday proposed upping the amount to $600 million. The proposal came a day after the House indicated it would go along with an initial Senate plan to spend $500 million.
Increasing teacher pay is a top priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis and has been a high-profile issue during this year’s legislative session. DeSantis asked the Legislature to approve a $602 million plan that would set a minimum salary of $47,500 for public school teachers.
The House initially proposed $650 million for teacher salary increases but indicated during negotiations Saturday that it would accept the Senate’s $500 million proposal. In another round of negotiations Sunday evening, the Senate offered to go to $600 million on the issue.
Senate Education Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said lawmakers are “still trying to meet the goal of the governor of trying to hit that minimum salary for our teachers.”
DeSantis also asked legislators to set aside $300 million for a new teacher and principal bonus program that would replace the embattled “Best and Brightest” bonus program. The House and Senate have rejected DeSantis proposed funding for a bonus program.