Pinellas teachers' union, school district reaches tentative agreement to pay starting teachers $40,000

6:38 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- How much money is enough money for you to become a teacher? Would $40,000 do? Well, the Pinellas teachers' union and school district leaders have reached a tentative agreement to pay starting teachers $40,000 -- that's up from $37,000 last year.

The money is part of Governor Scott's promise to give teachers $2,500 pay raises. Scott has given districts a lump sum and it's up to teachers' union and school district to distribute the cash.

RELATED: Florida teachers waiting for their new raise

For USF undergraduate students Michael Isaacs, an International Business major, and Christopher Phillips, a Criminology major, the College of Education has never been an option for them. But could the Pinellas school district's $40,000 starting teacher salary sway them?

"No, not at all. The work that they put it in. People don't realize the number of hours teachers put in -- they stay after school, they go home and grade papers -- it's a 24-7 job," says Phillips.

Phillips knows --  both his parents are teachers.

"They told me if I were to becomes a teacher, they would kill me," he says.

The pay could be worse.

"It's better than 35 as a Biologist with a master's degree," says Stacy Gilmore.

Gilmore is married and a mother of three and, like her classmate 25-year-old Luke Thema, is on the fast track to a master's degree in Education to become science teachers.

"Teachers don't becomes teachers for the money, they do it to have an impact on society and children's lives," says Thema.

But fewer college students seem to feel the same. Enrollment at the College of Education is down. In the fall of 2009, USF had 2,203 enrolled. This fall, only 1,518 -- that's 685 fewer students wanting to become teachers.

"You don't go into teaching for the money. If I had my way, teachers would make a lot more. They deserve a lot more," says Gilmore.

"To me, a good amount, is $60,000," says Thema.

Sixty-thousand dollars? Well, consider this. According to the Florida Department of Education, the average minimum teacher's salary is $34,856. The average teacher's salary is $46,479.

Below is a list of the Average Minimum Teacher's Salary with a Bachelor's by county:

Pinellas: $40,000

Sarasota: $38,997

Manatee: $37,843

Hillsborough: $37,569

Pasco: $36,420

Polk: $35,750

Hernando: $35,000

Citrus: $34,197

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