CRESTVIEW — Full-time classroom teachers anticipate a potential $2,500 pay raise following Gov. Rick Scott's Jan. 24 announcement of his proposed state budget.
The Florida Legislature must pass the budget, which includes $480 million for the pay increases.
Amy Dale, a first-grade teacher at Antioch Elementary School, said she appreciated the announcement.
"I was glad he was acknowledging the efforts and the hard work of the teachers that transpire to the achievements of our Florida students," she said.
However, Dale said, she would like to see increases benefit all staffers.
"We have lots of other roles in our schools that support our students," she said, referring to literacy, math and reading coaches who tutor students.
Barbbi Demara, a Crestview High School bookkeeper, agreed, and expressed concern for other positions, including hers, that the proposal excludes.
"It was disappointing at times when we get overlooked," Demara said.
Still, she said, teachers deserve a raise.
"We wouldn't have jobs if it weren't for teachers," Demara said. "It's just nice to know that people would think to recognize us as well, in our help with day-to-day organization."
Holly Tew, a Shoal River Middle School math teacher, agreed.
"It's nice to think that they are wanting to pay us more money for what we do," she said. "It's very stressful making sure you don't leave any child left behind ... in the time you are allowed to (teach)."
"As teachers, we are thankful to have jobs especially in this economy," she said. However, "I certainly think they should include everyone (who) contributes in the educational process at the school level."
Tim Gillis, a reading instructor and head coach of Crestview High School's baseball team, said he agreed with the allocations.
"I think it is where it should be, because you want to take care of the classroom and students in that classroom first," he said.
The increase, if approved, would help cover the cost of family health insurance with the Okaloosa County school system.
"It has doubled ... in 2006 it was $335," Demara said of a typical deduction. "As of Jan. 1, it is $744 per month."
A pay increase particularly would help excluded staffers, who, like full-time classroom teachers, involuntarily contribute 3 percent of pay to the school system's pension plan.
"I am happy to contribute to my retirement," Demara said. "If they can take 3 percent from me, as well as take 3 percent from teachers .... I would like to see us impacted as well."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.