In a 5-0 vote on Tuesday, the School Board of Alachua County approved the 2020-2021 salary schedule that boosts beginning teacher pay by more than 20 percent.
According to Alex Rella, assistant superintendent of business services for Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS), the Florida legislature appropriated $500 million statewide this year to address beginning teacher pay.
The ACPS district's portion of this allocation was $4.9 million.
"The way the law was written required us to increase beginning teacher pay to the "greatest extent possible" up to $47,500," Rella said. "Unfortunately, the state did not provide sufficient funding to get us to the goal of $47,500, but we were able to increase the beginning teacher pay 20 percent to $44,143."
According to the 2019-2020 ACPS Salary Schedule a beginning teacher at Step 0 with a bachelor's degree earned $38,416. The pay increase equals $5,727. The salary schedule also includes salary amounts for teachers with a master's degree, a specialist, and a doctorate. In the 2019-2020 salary schedule, a Step 0 (beginning) teacher with a doctorate was paid $44,178. The new 2020-2021 amount is $49,905.
Teachers with a bachelor's degree from Step 0 to 8 now earn the same salary. It's at Step 9 that the pay for a teacher with a bachelor's degree makes an increase from $44,143 to $44,589.
The entire Grandfathered Teacher Salary Schedule 2020-2021 can be viewed here.
Board Member Dr. Gunnar Paulson asked about supplement increases. "This is something close to my heart," he said. Twenty three years ago as head of the teacher's union, Paulson advocated for step increases for supplements that get paid to coaches, club advisers and other positions. He wanted to make sure that whatever the salary percentage increase is each year, that supplements increase at the same rate.
"Our plan is to index it every year," said Kevin Purvis, ACPS assistant superintendent and head of human resources . "Our goal is not to allow supplements to be stagnant."
Rella confirmed that supplements would continue to increase.
"The other issue is we only had enough funds to increase pay for our veteran teachers 1 percent," Rella explained. "Which is creating some inequities which will have to be addressed in the future as funds are available."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the House Bill 641, Funds for the Operations of Schools in June, 2020. Florida is now in the top five states nationwide for average starting teacher salaries.