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Florida Bill Would Pay Starting Teachers $50K

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Last week Florida lawmaker Senator Darren Soto introduced a bill that would raise the minimum salary for teachers to $50,000 a year.

The Florida Teacher Fair Pay Act, or Senate Bill 280, calls for the Legislature to fund the Florida Education Finance Program in a manner that guarantees the $50,000 minimum starting salary for teachers with union representation.

In addition, the bill would prevent school districts from setting their own lower salary, and would leave base pay negotiation with teachers unions to be decided upon by each individual district. Teachers' salaries would also require adjustment each year after based on inflation from the year prior.

Soto hopes to help teachers after hearing from many who are threatening to walk away from their careers in the Sunshine State unless something changes. He believes that mandating a minimum starting salary for teachers will help.

A study obtained last month ranked Florida's Orange County teachers as some of the lowest-paid in the country. The starting salary in Orange county is around $38,000.

"Even if we don't get to the $50,000 mark, this is part of a larger debate of getting teacher salaries up from where they are now," said Soto.

An increase in workload has resulted in veteran teachers retiring earlier, while others teachers are relocating to different states to continue their teaching career.

Teachers across the country are grossly underpaid despite the long hours they invest in their students, and teachers in the state of Florida are no exception. Senator Soto's proposed bill to pay all starting teachers $50,000 is a smart way to recruit the best teaching talent possible into the Sunshine State.

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