MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — Jackson County teachers will be getting a pay raise this year. 

School board members approved the deal Tuesday after 99% of the Jackson County Education Association ratified it. This is the earliest negotiations that have been settled in a while. Past salary negotiations were tense and drawn out because teachers weren’t getting the pay they believed they deserved. 

“The governor would like for the money to be in the teacher’s hand by October, and if it drags on like last year, it will roll over into the first year,” said Jackson County School District Superintendent Steve Benton. “This year, with an allocation from the Governor, we were able to give every one of our teachers $950.”

The cash flow doesn’t stop there. Teachers whose performances are rated effective will receive an extra $650, and teachers rated highly effective will get $975. The board even extended the performance pay time period. 

“Ordinarily, we go to step 26 and once you have 26 years, you just don’t receive it. Now we’ve included two extra steps which go to step 28 which will help their retirement.”

With the new raise, Jackson County teachers’ beginning salaries are about $43,000. Governor Ron Desantis’ goal is to bring that starting rate to $47,000. The school board hopes the higher pay makes teachers feel appreciated for the hard work they do. 

“It’s difficult. Teachers have to be mommies and daddies sometimes, and it’s not as easy of a job as people think it is,” said Benton. “They work hard and they deserve everything that we have for them.”

The district is getting most of the money for the raises from the state’s teacher salary increase allocation. The rest is coming from other district funding.