Florida teacher pay raises 2014: Teachers in Florida might get pay raises earlier

Legislative leaders said Tuesday that they plan to make sure that teachers who earn performance-based raises called for in the budget for the coming fiscal year get them before June 2014.

Under the measure that currently appears in the spending plan for the year that begins July 1, teachers wouldn't receive their pay increases -- which could range from $2,500 to $3,500 -- until the final month of the fiscal year.

But lawmakers now say that provision was based on a reading of proposals by the office of Gov. Rick Scott and will be fixed in one of the budget-related "conforming bills" that still have to be hammered out.

"I think the date is a challenge, and something that we do believe needs to be rectified in a conforming bill," said House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "So, I think when it's all said and done, when the conforming bill goes into law, that will bring clarity to that situation."

Senate President Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican and former schools superintendent, said districts could find ways to evaluate teachers before the end of the school year and make it possible for raises to go out earlier.

"As far as I'm concerned, teachers who earn their increases in pay ought to be able to get them as soon as school districts develop a plan to do so, collectively bargain that plan with their unions, and submit the plan to the commissioner of education and have it confirmed," Gaetz said.