JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CBS12) — Governor DeSantis announced legislation to create a Teacher's Bill of Rights on Monday.
Speaking at a news conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis said the legislation will empower teachers to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from 12 to eight years, and invest $1 billion in teacher pay.
“This is a huge package to increase teacher pay, support teacher empowerment and protect teachers’ paychecks by ensuring they have control over their hard-earned salary,” said DeSantis. “We want more transparency into how school unions operate, and we are going to fight against school union haggling that holds teachers and their salary increases hostage. Partisan groups should not be given special privileges."
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The proposal will require school unions to represent at least 60 percent of eligible employees and allow state investigations into unions suspected of fraud. The proposal also reduces term limits and aims to make school board elections partisan.
Paycheck protections under the proposal include prohibiting unions from deducting dues from employee's pay, prohibiting the distribution of union material at the workplace, and prohibiting school board members and superintendents from accepting benefit's from a school union, among others.
Teacher empowerment provisions under the proposed legislation include establishing a new process for notifying the state of violations of teachers' rights, establishing a "stand your ground" classroom policies to protect teachers, and providing civil remedies for teachers who are asked to violate Florida law by their employers.
Additionally, funding for teacher pay is expected to increase, raising the average starting pay for teachers to $48,000 for the 2022-2023 school year.