HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday in Miami-Dade County that he is increasing the base salary of Florida’s K-12 classroom teachers to $47,500.
During his visit to the Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah Gardens, DeSantis signed HB 641 Funds for the Operation of Schools bill, which includes the new $500 million program.
“This is a really big day for teacher’s compensation and we look forward to getting it to the teachers,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the measure raised Florida teachers’ starting pay from 26th to fifth in the nation. He was citing the National Education Association’s annual ranking. The 2017-2018 average starting teacher salary in Florida was $37,636.
DeSantis chose to make the announcement about the use of public funds in a place that supports the for-profit school world of Miami-Dade County.
Attorney Roberto Blanch, who specializes in real estate law, is the president of Mater Academy. The expanding network of charter schools he leads is linked to Academica, an influential for-profit charter school management company.
Attorney Ignacio Zulueta, also an accountant, and his brother Fernando Zulueta founded both Mater Academy and Academica. The Zulueta brothers also own the real estate that while used to run charter schools through a lease is exempt from some property taxes.
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Education Commissioner of Florida Richard Corcoran, Sen. Bill Galvano, Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Toby Overdorf also attended the news conference.