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Letter to Gov. Ignored: 2020 was "The Year of The Teacher" yet Veterans' Salaries Frozen in 1995!

Entry Level Teachers Get Raises But Veteran Teachers Salaries Reduced to 1990s Pay

As the article 1n The Tampa Bay Times states, a teacher who just graduated without teaching experience will earn $47,500. I have been teaching for 18 years in Miami-Dade County Public Schools ("M-DCPS"), and I taught three years outside of the school system for a total of 21 years of teaching experience. Similar to a novice teacher, however, I will earn a base salary of $49,060 during the 2021 - 2022 school year, which is only $1,560 more than an entry level teacher will earn. Each year of experience I have is only worth $74.00 to M-DCPS, or stated differently, my raise for each year of service is only $74.00. You do not need to be an economist to know that $74.00 per year does not even keep up with inflation, and therefore, M-DCPS, the union, United Teachers of Dade, and Governor DeSantis have given veteran teachers pay cuts ---- not raises.

Worse, by now, I would have reached the top of the "Salary Step Schedule," but it was allegedly illegally removed in 2015 under the pretense of "Performance Pay," which appears to have been abolished and/or not paid consistent with how the Florida Statutes mandate. This means that when the "Performance Pay" stipend is calculated by the M-DCPS District, it is only a fraction of what should be paid out to teachers, per the calculation that is to be used and mandated by the Florida Statutes.

The "Performance Pay" system was promoted to financially reward teachers for "merit," and it promised to leave teachers who worked hard in the classroom in the same or even better financial position than the "Salary Step Schedule," provided they were deemed to be "Highly Effective" or "Effective" in the classroom. Unfortunately, however, this has not come to pass since the stipend has proven to be a nominal amount, only approximately $1,000 - $2,000. Worse, because the "Performance Pay" stipend amount is not added to the teacher's base pay, veteran teachers' salaries have, in effect, been frozen in 1995! It should be noted that there have been years that "Performance Pay" has not been paid at all.

Let's travel back in time to 1995 and review the "Salary Step Schedule" (pictured below) teachers hoped to climb.

Please note that when the union actually worked for teachers, many decades ago, the "Salary Step Schedule" was negotiated each year. As part of those negotiations, first and automatically, the "Salary Step Schedule" was adjusted for COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Then, a raise was added to the base salary that had already been increased to account for inflation. This does not happen anymore, however. Nevertheless, you can appreciate how this took place by comparing the two columns below, the one for the previous school year, 1994 - 1995, and the incoming school year, 1995 - 1996.

For over two decades, teachers have not received a COLA increase to account for inflation in their base pay, and instead, there is usually ONLY a 1% - 2% increase to that base salary; the 1% - 2%, which does not keep up with inflation, in effect, impoverishes teachers more and more with each passing year.

Now, while looking at the "Salary Step Schedule" below, let's factor in the concept "time value of money," which I did not coin. For example, in order to have the same purchasing power in 2022 as in 1995, a teachers who earned $48,500, in 1995 would have to be paid $88,726.00 in 2022. But, again, MDCPS is only paying me $49,060 in 2022. I am essentially making the same salary as a teacher in 1995 all things (i.e., the same district and years of experience) being equal.

To see how I calculated that $48,500 in 1995 is equal to $88,726.00 in 2022, please visit the inflation calculator .

In conclusion, the M-DCPS Board, the union, United Teachers of Dade, and Governor DeSantis have solidified pay cuts ---- NOT RAISES - for veteran teachers. They have shifted the raises that were once promised to veteran teachers to pay novice, entry-level teachers today.

PLEASE TELL ME: In what profession do professionals make essentially the same salary in 2022 as they did in 1995 dollar-for-dollar?

Steps for M-DCPS Teachers 1995

The Governor's law, the M-DCPS Board's and the United Teachers of Dade's, the union, position stating that teachers are earning a competitive wage - is ALL SPIN.  

The truth is that whereas an entry-level teacher's salary is competitive at $47,500, veteran teachers have been betrayed because the novice teachers' competitive salaries are being paid at the expense of paying seasoned, veteran teachers, who have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession, the salaries they were promised when they entered the teaching profession.

I would be ashamed to pose for the cameras and tell the press that this is, "The Year of the Teacher," as I believe Governor DeSantis has called it.

Dollar-for-dollar, an entry level teacher makes significantly more, when experience is considered, than a veteran co-worker. There is no equity in that, which inevitably causes teacher morale to plummet.

Shameful. Disgraceful. Misrepresentations.

For once, tell the public the truth. Tell them what you have done to veteran teachers to be able to make such claims.

The title of the article in the Tampa Bay Times should be: "Governor and Districts Decimate Veteran Teachers' Income and Pension Earnings to Give Appearance that Florida Pays Teachers a Competitive Wage."

Teachers continue to be poorer today than they were a decade ago, and even poorer than they were 27 years ago. M-DCPS and the union, United Teachers of Dade, and now the Governor, have played a shell game with teachers' salaries.

Governor DeSantis Cannot Claim Ignorance - not that it is a defense.

On January 11, 2020, I sent Governor DeSantis a Certified Letter. Although I was pretty sure I did not have to brief him, as I am sure he has aides for that purpose, I did not want to leave such an important issue that affects the livelihood and retirement of thousands of teachers across the state of Florida to chance. Please read for yourself how I informed Governor DeSantis about the issues relating to teachers' salaries, especially in light of, at the time, his apparent resolve to increase entry level wages for teachers. Of course, at this point in time, we appreciate that this did, in fact, become law.

After reading the excerpts from the letter, you may wonder what was the outcome. Although the Governor's Office did contact me to thank me for my letter, his office staff made it clear that the Governor did not have the time to meet with me in person nor talk to me via any medium. For this reason, the outcome was that the pleas were ignored.

Last edited on February 10, 2022 to reflect inflation.

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