Florida Teacher Pay Hike

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Early next year, nearly 25-percent of Florida’s public school teachers will receive merit pay.

The state legislature has earmarked $147-million dollars for the bonus pay, but school districts now must come up with a way to choose its top educators:

Each of Florida’s 67-counties have been given the daunting task of coming up with a merit pay plan.

In Jackson County, 125 out of 535 public school teachers will receive a bonus, which will amount to five-percent of their base pay. However, how do you rank teachers?

"Good teachers and evaluating is the hard part. Anytime you pick the top 25-percent, they'll be feelings hurt," said Superintendent Danny Sims of Jackson Co. Schools.

It’s known as STAR: Special Teachers Are Rewarded Program, which the state has appropriated $374,000 dollars for Jackson County's top teachers.

Assistant Superintendent Larry Moore said, "It’s hard to judge with some teacher teaching core subjects that are test through F-CAT and standardized testing, and others that are not."

Plus, trying to prevent feelings from getting hurt is a hard part for the administrators coming up with the plan.

"The common theme is that some teachers will get the pay increase. But, we know all are teachers are vital in the teaching of students here in Jackson County," said Teacher Training Supervisor Linda Cox.

The teachers union has tentatively agreed to the proposed performance pay plan. Each district's plan will have to be approved by the State Department of Education.

Under the plan, principals will evaluate teachers' professionalism and consider how much their students have progressed.