Leon County Schools Move Ahead With Teacher Raises, But Not Governor's Supply Cards
Leon County Schools officials are putting the final touches on a plan to give raises to teachers and other staff. The money for the raises came as part of Governor Rick Scott's plan to increase education funding by a billion dollars. But as teachers get ready to see that money, they aren't able to tap into Scott's classroom supply reimbursement program.
Included in those eligible for the raises are teachers, principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors. Those raises could hit paychecks as early as late October. Under the deal, most teachers will see a $2182 increase – meted out over either ten or 12 months, depending on the teacher’s pay schedule.
New teachers will get a $1000 increase and principals and assistant principals will get a $2000 raise. But as the money prepares to flow, Leon County Assistant Superintendent Barbara Wills acknowledges some district employees are getting nothing:
“Those who are not getting the raise, our school board and superintendent are hopeful to be able to do something for other employees, but right now nothing has been determined. So that’s everybody else. That’s our cafeteria workers, our bus drivers, those at the administrative office," she says.
The district is still working to finalize details of the raise with the Leon teachers union and the school board. The district will also have to find about $6 million of its own funding to support the raises in future years if lawmakers don’t continue the funding.
Meanwhile, the district is one of many in Florida opting not to have its teachers use state-funded school supply vouchers. The vouchers, coming in the form of prepaid debit cards, were the brainchild of Governor Rick Scott. And Leon County Assistant Superintendent Barbara Wills says while the district is pleased for the option—it just came too late:
“Teachers buy the supplies they need, and teachers usually do that in early August and over the Summer. So the problem we ran into with the gift cards, is that they would not be available to us until right when school started.”
The prepaid debit cards, worth $250 dollars each, would have gone to all teachers to purchase classroom supplies. Wills says there’s a separate pot of money for teachers to be reimbursed for their classroom purchases.