Almost immediately after Gov. Rick Scott announced his proposal to give $2,500-a-year raises to public school teachers across Florida, lawmakers started poking holes in the idea.
Scott's fellow Republicans raised questions about where they would find money in the budget. The state is expecting a $2.1 billion surplus this year, but much of that will have to cover the rising costs of the pension system and federal health care reform, lawmakers claim.
Scott's teacher raises would tack on another $480 million a year.
Conservative lawmakers also pointed out that Scott's far-reaching proposal doesn't include any provision for "merit" pay — which means all teachers would get the raise, regardless of what kind of job they're doing in the classroom.
We don't know Scott's motivation for pitching the $2,500 raises, but we know his approval ratings have been paltry.
Halfway through his first term, 52 percent of voters don't believe he deserves a second term, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month.
We also know Scott's daughter is a teacher. Perhaps she's clued him in about some of the realities at the ground level. Among the less-than-attractive truths:
Florida ranks 46 out of 50 states in terms of teacher pay, with an average annual salary of about $46,000.
Teacher pay in Martin County ranges from $37,000 a year to $58,000, depending on degrees and years of experience...
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