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Teachers will Tour the State on a Red School Bus to Promote Higher Pay, More Classroom Resources

The bus will be making 50 stops in 30 counties. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
The bus will be making 50 stops in 30 counties. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Florida teachers will be making 50 stops on the Fund Our Future bus tour. 

They’re calling for a $2.4 billion dollar increase in the state budget to provide teachers with raises and more classroom resources.

The big red bus will be making 50 stops at churches, community meetings, and town halls from the Panhandle to Orlando over the next five weeks. 

Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram says they’ll meet with local leaders, activists and parents and students to call for $1 billion dollars for teacher raises and another $1.4 billion to support arts programs and upgrades to technology.

He says without this extra funding teachers will continue to leave the profession-contributing to the state’s educator shortage.

“For the last three years we have started school-at the beginning of school-statewide with over 3,000 classrooms that did not have a certified teacher.”

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Earlier this month Governor Ron DeSantis proposed raising the starting salary for teachers to $47,500 dollars a year which he says could affect some 100,000 teachers. 

But FEA says these raises need to be across the board-for all school staff including bus drivers and paraprofessionals.

Ingram says this would send the message that the state supports its educational system which could help attract more students to the field.

“Our schools of education around the state from private universities to our public colleges and universities are seeing fewer and fewer students go into the programs to be teachers and educators.”

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Governor Ron DeSantis also hinted at replacing the Best and the Brightest program which offers teachers $1,000 to $2,500 dollar bonuses for being "highly effective teachers."

The FEA and other teacher rights groups say the program only benefits instructors at schools that perform well on the annual school report card.
If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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