Fact Checking Teacher Pay Raises

May 8, 2013

Credit politifact.com

When Governor Rick Scott's "Facebook" page declared recently that "every Florida teacher gets a pay raise," it was only half-true.

That's the word from "PolitiFact Florida."

The Governor is touring the state this week on a "victory tour" for Florida schools. 

He'll appear Friday morning at Alexander Elementary School in Tampa.

After previously being forced by a bad economy to cut education spending, Scott said the state's improving economic standing allowed lawmakers to now bump up spending on K-12 education -- and hand out $2500 raises to teachers.

P0litiFact Florida's Angie Holan says Scott got the amount of money he wanted for teacher raises -- $480 million. But the legislature tied enough strings to that to call into question whether or not every teacher will get a raise.

That's why PolitiFact Florida rated the Governor's statement as "half-true."

"Governor Scott wanted every teacher to get a pay raise, but the legislature had different ideas. Mostly they were concerned with the issue of merit pay. As you recall, we've been having this big debate about whether teachers should be paid based on the results they get in the classroom.  So the state legislature did appropriate the money for pay raises but they said that they wanted it to be determined based on merit. Now, when we looked into this it looks like the merit strategy will still mean most teachers will get a pay raise under this."

And Holan said, teachers will definitely get more money than the Democratic Party of Florida claimed they were going to get.

Florida Dem Party chairwoman Allison Tant wrote at the end of last month that while the governor boasted that his number one priority for the 2013 session was a $2,500 across-the-board raise for classroom teachers, he has allowed Republican legislators to cut that raise by 60 percent with a multitude of strings attached.

"We rated this 'false,'" said Holan. "We read this statement from the Democratic Party and we were scratching our heads and saying 'What's that about?' So we asked them and they said, 'Uh... never mind.' They were looking at the wrong figures. So this one - it was just false."