OCOEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott announced on Wednesday that teachers are getting a pay hike.
Scott's plan calls for all of Florida's 168,000 teachers to get an estimated $2,500 more next year, costing the state $480 million.
The plan must still make it through the budget process in the Florida legislature.
The Republican governor unveiled his pay hike plan while visiting Ocoee Middle School. That's near Orlando.
The Florida Supreme Court last week upheld a Scott-proposed law requiring the pension contribution from teachers, state and county employees and some municipal workers.
Last year, the Legislature approved Scott's request to increase public school funding by $1 billion, but left it to local school boards to determine how much, if any, would go to pay raises.
That was a turn-around for the Republican governor, who in the previous year persuaded lawmakers to cut school spending.
To read the entirety of his remarks, click here.
Teachers react to announcement
South Florida teachers were pleased with the announcement. Many heard about it during dismissal on Wednesday.
"As costs go up, our salaries have stayed stagnant, and it's hard to make ends meet. You have to decide sometimes between what you're going to pay, what you're going to do, especially with the health costs in Miami-Dade County," said Elizabeth Taylor Martinez. "It would be good because then I could spend more money to buy the things that we need, plus pay back the gargantuan student loans that I owe."
Karen Aronowitz, president of the United Teachers of Dade, was more skeptical.
"I'd say send the money, but it's almost like a rebate because they took $480 million from state employees last year through pension cuts," she said. "I'm taking it. We're not turning it back."
Right now, Florida's teachers make an average of $46,000 per year.
That's about $10,000 less than the national average for teachers.
"We cannot be a last place finisher in teacher salaries and then say we have a good education system," said Aronowitz.
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