Duval Teachers United

Points of Interest: FAQs about the Teacher Salary Plan

August 12, 2020

The following Points of Interest was sent back on June 30, 2020.  After getting some questions from members regarding pay, DTU wanted to remind employees of the information they received pertaining to beginning salary pay.  Please review the answers to the frequently asked questions included at the end of this mailing. DTU is still negotiating non-economic issues with the DCSB. You will be receiving an update on those issues shortly. Negotiations on economic issues will begin soon. As soon as they do, we will keep you informed. 

On June 24th, Governor Ron DeSantis formally signed the Teacher Salary Plan into law. There is still much that is unknown about the bill implementation. How the funding will be allocated locally will be determined based on negotiations between DTU and the DCSB through the collective bargaining process and the state Teacher Salary Plan guidelines.

On March 19th, four days after the Legislature passed the bill, FEA held a Facebook Live event to take questions on the bill’s passage. You’ll find the questions posed with answers at the end of this document. We hope you find this information helpful.

DTU/DCSB Bargaining:

DTU will inform you when they will go to the bargaining table with the DCSB to discuss economic issues, including salaries. After negotiations begin, DTU will send out Bargaining Updates via DCPS email following each bargaining session.

The Florida public education funding formula has never been adequate for Duval County. While there have been adjustments to the state funding formula for districts over the years, Duval property taxes funding for public education can’t compare with the funding for South Florida districts. It has been said of Duval County that we are “people rich and property poor.” Regardless, DTU will fight to get every available dollar they can to fund ALL groups in each of our three units.

State Funding Points to Remember:

•            Please remember that the Legislature ruled years ago, that steps are no longer automatic. They must be re-negotiated each year.

•            As is stated in the following Q and A, there may not be enough funding provided from the Legislature to the districts for every new teacher to be raised to a salary of $47,500.

•            As Duval County teachers should be well aware of by now, what is touted as the objective of ANY Florida Governor, does not necessarily translate into what is actually funded.

•            Continued Legislative increases in funding to charter schools and vouchers to private schools has diverted funding from monies traditionally provided to regular public schools.

•            The Governor’s budget fails to address money for all of our Units. The Teacher Salary Plan only addresses full time classroom teachers as in FS 1012.01. including Pre-K. It does not address all Teacher Unit instructional personnel (non-classroom teachers). It doesn’t address teacher support personnel (Paraprofessionals or UOPD Unit members).

•            There are many impediments to Florida public school funding. In addition to those mentioned above, Covid 19 is surging in Florida. Addressing the pandemic has been costly for everyone in a number of ways. The State has experienced a loss in revenue due to the decline of tourism and consumer spending. That has been coupled with expenditures on costs associated with fighting the pandemic. This has led to an overall shortfall in state revenue.

Teacher Salary Plan Q and A

When can I expect to see a raise, and how large will the raise be?

The $500 million Florida teacher salary allocation is for the 2020-2021 school year. Each district will receive their portion of that allocation. Like all wages, district allocations will be negotiated between your local union and your school district. As far as the amount of the raise, that will vary widely based on the amount of the district allocation.

Does this mean that all teachers in Florida will make at least $47,500?

No. One very important thing to note is the $47,500 figure is an aspirational goal set by the governor and the Legislature over a period of years. Very few districts received enough funding this year to reach that minimum salary. We must hold lawmakers accountable to their multiyear commitment to reach that aspirational goal. That will be the only way to see significant salary growth.

How much money will my district get for the teacher salary allocation?

The amount each district will receive is calculated based roughly on enrollment.

Must it all be spent on raising the base salary, or is there any money for veteran teachers?

There is no requirement that all the money be spent on rising the base salary. As noted in the General Appropriations Act, 80 percent of the allocation is to be used for increasing the base salary, with the remaining 20 percent for those already above the base salary.

Will new teachers make more than experienced teachers?

No! Lines 196-198 of House Bill 641 read, “No full-time classroom teacher shall receive a salary less than the minimum base salary … .”

Will new teachers be making the same amount as more experienced teachers?

This is a little more nuanced than the last question, and it depends on how much of a raise the veteran teacher receives by having their salary adjusted to the new “base salary.” Veteran teachers whose salary increases by less than 2 percent with the new base salary are eligible to have their salary increased even further.

For illustration, let’s imagine that your district is able to get the base salary to $45,000. A teacher who was working for 10 years and had a salary of $44,500 would see only a $500 increase. This would be a less than 2% increase. Lines 205-206 of House Bill 641 stipulate that since this teacher received less than a 2 percent increase, they are eligible to be included in the 20 percent of funds to raise salaries of veteran teachers. Because of the way the money is being distributed, it’s true that veteran teachers will likely see their pay go up less than those at the bottom of the pay scale.

What about other instructional personnel? Can they make less than new teachers?

That is how the language reads. The “minimum base salary” is for classroom teachers as defined in 1012.01. There is no statutory requirement for other instructional personnel (including media specialists, academic coaches, etc.) to reach that minimum salary.

However, remember all of this must be negotiated. We are committed to ensuring that the funds are distributed in a way that is as equitable as possible.

What about prekindergarten teachers? Are they included?

Yes. Line 191 of House Bill 641 makes it clear that the teacher salary allocation is for full-time classroom teachers “plus certified prekindergarten teachers.”

If I make more than $47,500, will I receive a raise?

Possibly. The $100 million set aside is directed to go toward teachers who receive a 2% raise or less from the raise to minimum base pay — i.e., those who already make more than the floor but who are still underpaid from years of teaching.

How does this affect contract negotiations between districts and teachers’ unions?

The state is requiring that the $500 million be used for raises, but it doesn’t dictate many of the details. Those are left up to the districts, which will still bargain with unions. Once they come to an agreement, they will send a report to the Florida Department of Education with their results.

At one point, a bill was proposed that would have required the department to approve districts’ plans for raises before they could be dispersed, but that did not make it into the final version.

Will I still be receiving a bonus from the state?

No. Lawmakers repealed the Best and Brightest teacher bonuses this year and moved all the funding from those performance-based bonuses into raises.

How does all this compare to what Gov. Ron DeSantis requested?

DeSantis had asked for a new $300 million bonus program to replace Best and Brightest, which the Legislature declined. He had also asked for $600 million to go toward the teacher raises, more than the $500 million lawmakers approved. Lawmakers said that responding to coronavirus played a part in the lower amount of funding.

Remember to check your DCPS email periodically for bargaining updates from DTUJAX.

Stay safe and adhere to District and CDC guidelines.