Fla. gov. won't get $2,500 raises for teachers

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott isn't going to succeed in getting $2,500 pay raises for the state's teachers.

Florida legislators meeting over the weekend have settled on setting aside nearly $500 million to boost teacher pay. But House and Senate budget negotiators made it clear they will not hand out raises the way Scott wanted.

Instead, legislators will push ahead with a proposal to base the raises on teacher performance. They also plan to offer raises to beyond classroom teachers -- a move which could also lower the amount offered to each employee.

Scott had made the across-the-board teacher pay raise one of his top priorities for the 2013 session. But legislators had signaled their reluctance with the proposal from the start.

Some teachers who talked with Channel 9 said the low pay is forcing them out of the classrooms. Some are leaving the profession, while others are leaving the state.

In Georgia, teachers earn $7,000 a year more than teachers in Florida.

"We're just not feeling supported at all," said teacher Minica Tom.

Tom moved from Pennsylvania to Florida 25 years ago to teach. In that time, she's seen demands increase, colleagues leave and pay remain flat.

"I have a friend that I job-shared with, and she left to go into pharmaceutical sales, and her life has changed dramatically," said Tom.

Tom said the cost to be a teacher is rising while the pay remains the same.

"Beyond the basic textbooks and teaching materials, teachers are paying out-of-pocket for things like books to hand out, games, arts and crafts, flash cards and, in recent years, paper for photocopies just for handouts," said Tom.

Education groups said the move by the Legislature to pass on raises will only make it harder to keep and attract new teachers.

Scott continues to push for an across-the-board teacher pay raise. He is getting support from Orange County School Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, who said it will help retain and recruit teachers.