• Florida senator wants to raise teacher starting salaries to $50,000


    ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando lawmaker said he may be able to help after hearing from a number of teachers threatening to walk away from their careers if something doesn't change.

    The extreme demands of multiple standardized tests is part of what's upsetting teachers, so Sen. Darren Soto is pushing a new law to give teachers a minimum starting salary, which he believes will help.

    Right now, Orange County's teachers union is in the middle of negotiating a 6 percent pay raise.

    Timothy Saylor, an education major at the University of Central Florida, told Channel 9 he's passionate about teaching, even though the starting salary is discouraging.

    "Even my family has told me, 'You should to go to a different state,'" said Saylor.

    That's because Florida doesn't pay teachers like they should for building up they younger generation, according to Channel 9's Julie Salomone.

    A study Channel 9 obtained last month ranked Orange County teachers as some of the lowest-paid teachers in the country with a starting salary around $38,000.

    Soto wants to change that and he has proposed a bill that would start a teacher's salary at $50,000. 

    "And 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.

    Soto said an increase in workload has caused veteran teachers to retire earlier, while others might just move to another state to teach.

    Last month, Channel 9 reported Osceola County lost about 20 teachers who said they left because of all the work associated with the new Common Core.

    "I'm hearing way too many stories of teachers leaving after six or seven years," said Soto.

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