St. Petersburg, Florida- Governor Rick Scott's week-long 10 city listening tour on education made a stop in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
Scott visited with parents and teachers at Madeira Beach Fundamental.
"I'm listening to their ideas," says Gov. Scott.
Band teacher David Tagliarini says he came with an open mind. "I came into this thinking he will put a sincere effort tolisten to the stakeholders, listen to teachers."
And teachers have a lot to say starting with teacher salaries. One teacher uses her salary as an example, saying after 18 years as a teacher she makes $42,000. Yet a first year teacher makes 37,000.
Tagliarini tells the governor, "We are struggling. Why are we struggling? Our students would benefit more if we are not suffocating."
Teachers say due to budget cuts, they put too much of their own money into the classroom. One teacher says she spends as much as $2,000 each year on her students and classroom.
Governor Scott reminds them he injected $1 billionin education last year, but fails to mention he took out $1.3 billion the year before.
Still, he gives teachers hope that more money may be on the way.
"If I can control Medicaid and the economy is better -- which the economy is better in Florida -- we will have more money for education," Gov. Scott says to the group of 16 teachers.
Teachers are also concerned about student testing and tying results to teacher evaluations.
Gov. Scott says, "I believe in choice and competition, I want to make sure it's fair and done in the right way."
The governor tells the group he hassix principles for education: prepare students for college and career, fair accountability, purposeful assessments, reward teachers, empower parents and provide competition.
The governor says his goal is to prepare all students for college and a career. Governor Scott says he will take the feedback from teachers and parents and use the information when preparing his legislative agenda for 2013.
"I'm going to look at the bills, regulations and make sure we have the right people in place so this state has the best education system for our students."
Tagliarini says he thinks the governor is listening.
"He seems sincere taking notes in the right places, made the right comments. My hope is he is sincere he will apply the key points to legislation or decisions he makes."