Polk County Public Schools hailed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Thursday announcement of a wide-ranging teacher pay proposal that includes an additional $422 million in rewards.
“This is very welcome news. Our teachers shape the future of our community, state and nation. Their work is absolutely vital, and they deserve to be compensated for the hard work they do for our children every day,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
“Unfortunately, as state funding has gotten tighter, it’s become more difficult for school districts to increase teacher pay. We’re excited by the governor’s announcement, and his proposal to realign funds for rewards.”
Added Chief Academic Officer Michael Akes:
“Our teachers deserve to be supported in any and every way. They dedicate their careers to our kids, to doing everything they can to help our students be successful in the classroom — and beyond.”
Associate Superintendent of Human Resource Services Teddra Porteous said the proposal will also be helpful in addressing an ongoing teacher shortage affecting school districts nationwide.
“This is fantastic. Teaching is a highly demanding profession. Quite frankly, pay is one of the biggest challenges we face in recruiting and retaining highly qualified educators,” she said. “Anything that makes the profession more appealing will help us get qualified, talented teachers into our classrooms — and that’s good for our kids.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, DeSantis’ proposal would provide more than $9,000 each in bonuses to 45,000 teachers, as well as bonuses to principals who create positive working and learning environments. Additionally, bonuses granted under the Best & Brightest program would no longer be based on SAT and ACT scores.