Under the Senate plan, more than 4,000 Florida law enforcement officers and dispatchers would receive at least a 3 percent raise on top of the across-the-board hike that would go into effect on July 1. In addition, those with five years of service would receive an extra 2 percent. The total cost would be $10.3 million for a package that would give more than half of officers and dispatchers in the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement raises of 8 percent.
By comparison, the House would provide a 3 percent pay raise for law enforcement that would go into effect July 1.
The raises for law enforcement are all automatic. Teachers, however, must be measured by a new set of student performance measures to qualify for their increases. The House and Senate want the state’s 67 school districts to come up with their own merit-based system for distributing the raises.
Dollarwise, the House is proposing $676 million for teacher salary increases, but that includes extra compensation for noninstructional personnel. The Senate is proposing to spend $480 million on teacher salaries, which is what Scott proposes, but nothing for employees who don’t work in classrooms. Unlike Scott, senators want the raises to be based entirely on performance.
That doesn’t sit well with teachers.
“It’s not fair,” said Amanda Wolfe, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher in St. John’s County. “It’s like in my class, giving this kid a piece of candy and not giving to this one. You’re saying you like one better. You don’t say that, but that’s what it looks like to the other kids when you’re always favoring this student over them.”