Two state lawmakers want to give a hefty raise to Florida's public school teachers. The bill calls for a $10,000 salary bump for educators, taking effect in two years.
"Because people are taking home less today than they were five years ago, anything that's going to help improve the plight of our teachers -- and actually everyone who works in our schools -- is quite important," said Volusia County Teacher's Union president Andrew Spar.
The bill, which was filed in the Florida House and Senate last week, calls for teachers' salaries, which currently average $46,000 a year, to be bumped to the national average, which is $56,000.
"We have one of the lowest retention rates in the nation," said state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, who has filed a measure that would amend Florida's constitution. "So to me, let's compensate our teachers let's put them in a position where they can live a good life and of course education our great minds of the future."
Spar said 156 teachers have left the district since the beginning of this school year, mainly because they could not afford to stay.
"They're leaving the profession," said Spar. "They're going out of state, because there's jobs that pay better elsewhere. those are the impacts we have, if we continue to treat our systems and our school systems so poorly."
But where would the money come from to fund the salary increase? Lawmakers said they would have to budget for it through their general revenue source, and the burden wouldn't fall on local districts.
Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, is also backing legislation to raise teacher salaries. He said it wouldn't take effect until 2015.