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Leon County Teachers Get Raises, Students Get Chromebooks

active teenager in mask with laptop during coronavirus quarantine
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All public school students in Leon County will get a Chromebook. The first shipment has arrived for distribution this week.

The Leon County school board has approved a salary increase for teachers. Beginning teacher salaries will rise by almost $6000 to $43,304 a year. The raises are being funded by a $5.3-million allocation from the district and the state.

Leon County Schools Chief Financial Officer Kim Banks says 80% of the funds had to be spent on boosting the starting teacher pay rate.

“20% of the funds were able to bring up teachers that were not classroom teachers - so our media, guidance, resource, school psychologists, social workers. We’re able to bring them up to the new base with those funds,” Banks said. “Then we also combined the remaining funds with our funds that we had set aside last year for the teachers when we first heard of this allocation, to deal with compression.”

That refers to teachers who’ve been with the district for several years but won’t be earning as much as starting teachers after the base pay is increased. To cover those experienced teachers, Banks says all teachers will get an increase of at least $3000.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna says the district is working toward reaching $47,500 for starting teacher pay, a base salary pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The district will also start doling out Chromebooks Thursday at Woodville K-8 School. “Then, we’re going to follow up with Cobb Middle School and DeSoto Trail Elementary School. Those will be the first three,” Hanna said. “By the end of the 9 weeks, we’re hoping we will have the devices here for…over 50% of our schools.”

Hanna said the rest of the more than 30-thousand devices will be steadily handed out to all district students in the coming weeks as shipments arrive. The devices were supposed to be here in time for the start of the school year, but they were delayed by the pandemic.