Educators in the Sunshine State are about to get paid. Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed Florida's largest teacher compensation package in the state's history on Wednesday, June 24. There was some doubt that the bill would ever be approved.

"We wanted to take Florida from number 26 in the nation for the average teacher salary to top five," DeSantis said at a press conference at Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah Garden. "We have not made every decision about the budget; I can report that this will be there 100%."

The bill, which was passed during the legislative session early this year, will give a $500 million raise to public teachers all over the state. An extra $100 million will be earmarked for the state's more experienced teachers.

"It's not something that a lot of people thought necessary would get done," DeSantis said. Education Secretary Richard Corcoran would go on to say that it was the "largest ever teacher compensation package" the state has ever dealt out.

Teacher salaries have been a major sticking point in the legislature for years. DeSantis made raising teacher salaries a significant policy goal for this year's legislative session.

There were concerns as to if the pay raises would survive a huge cut to the state budget that DeSantis initially promised due to COVID-19. Today's bill signing ensures that teachers will be getting raises this upcoming school year.

DeSantis hoped that the pay increase would be an incentive for future eductors to see Florida as a viable job option.

“Hopefully, by doing something like this, it’s going to entice some more people who may be young and think about what they want to do to maybe go into teaching,” he said.

He continued to say that the career path isn't one for those looking to cash out young.

“You’re not going to get rich doing it, just like police officers don’t get rich. Just like other things, you do it because you have a servant’s heart, but it sure makes it easier if you have a good minimum salary and are able to make ends meet.”

With the current COVID-19 pandemic looming over the state, it was unclear if the proposed bill will make it through. 

However, it pulled through, and teachers all over the state can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their paychecks will look a bit better next school year.

*Cover photo used for illustrative purposes.

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