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Florida education group tries to build support to raise teacher pay

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Education Association on Tuesday rolled out a campaign to try to increase pressure on state leaders to increase pay for teachers and other school staff members to national averages.

The statewide teachers union said during a media conference call that it is asking legislative and gubernatorial candidates to sign a pledge to only support state budgets that would raise salaries to the national averages by 2023.

The union said the average teacher salary in Florida in 2017 was $47,267, more than $12,000 below the national mark.

The FEA, which has long called for higher salaries, said Democratic gubernatorial candidates Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Philip Levine have signed the pledge.

It also released the names of 16 other legislative and state Cabinets who have signed the pledge, all of whom are Democrats.

Republicans have long controlled the governor’s office, the Cabinet and both chambers of the Legislature.