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School Superintendents Talk Teacher Salary in Florida House Committee

A physics teacher writes on his chalkboard in a classroom.

Several school superintendents met in Tallahassee to discuss teacher salaries and other challenges facing their districts with Florida lawmakers Thursday morning.

Superintendents from Osceola, Sarasota, Jackson and St. John’s counties fielded questions from members of the House Pre K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee ranging from budgeting concerns and staffing numbers to transportation costs and bus maintenance.

The four superintendents spoke of their district's unique hurdles, but also discussed the shared challenge of recruiting and retaining teachers.

“Recruitment and retention as well as recruitment and retention of high quality school leaders is the most significant challenge that I see facing local school boards and local school superintendents," said Osceola County Superintendent  Dr. Debra Pace.

Superintendent Pace added that her district is a high poverty and majority minority district serving nearly 70,000 students. She added that current staffing trends are becoming problematic in her growing district.

"Growing our own teachers is a very slow process and while its something we have in place, it cannot possibly meet the needs that we have in our high growth district now or in the foreseeable future," said Dr. Debra Pace.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants to raise the starting salary for Florida teachers to $47,500. 

Pace and other superintendents agreed that low pay is part of the problem of teacher retention. 

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