Broward public school teachers could become highest paid in state
CBS News Miami | By Peter D’Oench and Nicole Lauren | July 25, 2023
FORT LAUDERDALE – Broward’s public school teachers could become the highest paid in the state with compensation in the six-figure range.
That’s according to a new proposal by school board member Alex Zeman that was being presented to the Broward School Board on Tuesday.
According to the outline, teachers would earn $80,000 by 2025 or $100,000 when benefits are included. A district report currently shows teachers, on average, have a base salary of around $66,000.
While there is excitement among teachers, the plan has been met with criticism as well. Some have questioned how much this will cost the school district. They are projecting this would cost roughly $182 million over the next four years.
Zeman said the district can afford it since it is getting a 9.1 increase in state funding this year.
Zeman told CBS News Miami’s Peter D’Oench, “There’s a real competition for talent out there and I want Broward to be the first county in the state to pay teachers $100,000 by 2025.”
Broward Schools Superintendent Peter Licata told CBS News Miami “I always worry when services are taken away. I always worry about this. But I believe we can do this with more money coming in this year I believe we can do this.”
His plan would also raise the average salary for a principal or assistant principal from $114,000 to $127,000 a year. The plan would also come before a public hearing next Tuesday and would be submitted to the state by September 12th, according to Zeman.
The plan may also include closing about 40 schools with low enrollment, but that is something that will likely need approval.
Katrina Whittaker, who’s been a teacher for 34 years and is the sole support of her 5 grandchildren, told D’Oench the raises are critical.
She said, “Teachers are working paycheck to paycheck and we are working 2 to 3 jobs. Our mortgage has gone up and our insurance has gone up on our homes. We can not afford to live in Fort Lauderdale and in Broward. It’s important that they know if they do not give us raises we can not live and we take this stress with us and we take it to our jobs. It is very important that we are happy when we go to work. We love our job but we want to be complimented for what we do. We are the reason we have Presidents and we have Governors. They had to go through teachers to go to where they are. I do the job because I love what I do and we do this so others will join our profession.”
Whittaker is a teacher at Seagull Alternative High School.
Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said, “When our teachers start at $48,900 and I have 18-year veterans that are making $52,000 a year, you want to rent an apartment and they are not taking your application because you don’t meet the qualifications of a salary when a 1-1 (apartment) is $2500 (a month). To be able to work in Broward you need to be able to live in Broward. People just aren’t able to cut it and they should be able to afford a place to live without having to live with friends or their parents.”