Ron DeSantis mug

Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Out of his $602 million plan to bolster minimum pay for teachers statewide, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to give the Citrus County School District $4.8 million. 

But the county’s school district isn’t sure if it will see that money, how it will be allocated and if it’s even enough to raise its educators' base salaries up to DeSantis’ goal of $47,500.

“It’s in the infancy stage; so, right now, we’re concentrating on our day-to-day jobs and getting through the school year,” district spokeswoman Lindsay Blair said Tuesday about DeSantis' teacher compensation initiative, unveiled in October. "If this passes the legislature, we’ll put pen to paper and figure out how to disperse the money.”

In his $91.4 billion budget proposal report for 2020-21, released Nov. 18, DeSantis detailed how $602,282,686 will be divided amongst the state's school district's, boosting pays for an estimated 101,000 of Florida’s 180,000 instructors, and help spur recruitment efforts.

DeSantis is recommending a $4,801,579 allocation to the Citrus County School District, according to his “Bolder, Brighter, Better Future” budget.

A prior Chronicle report showed that out of the around 1,230 teachers working for the county’s school district, roughly 800 of them don’t make a $47,500 salary.

Blair said it’s yet unclear for the school district if the state’s $4.8 million will be enough to get those educators up to DeSantis’ salary benchmark.

Local school district officials also don’t yet have guidelines from the state on how restricted they’ll be in spending their appropriation, depending on which funding category it goes into.

“We’re watching it, we’re seeing where it goes and we’re seeing how and if they approve it,” Blair said.

Another big concern of the district's: What about the educators who’ve taught for years to reach that $47,500 pay mark?

Are they going to be compensated once starting teachers make the same salary they do?

“It’s going to be more than what the government a lots us,” Blair said. “Where are we going to get that other money from?”

DeSantis’ communications office did not yet return a Chronicle reporter’s request for comment.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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