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Tallahassee, Florida - Florida teachers could start receiving raises soon, now that Gov. Rick Scott has signed the state budget for next year.The $74 billion budget takes effect July 1.

The new budget includes $480 million for pay raises for teachers and other school employees.

Gov. Scott wanted to dedicate that money just for teachers so each would get a $2,500 raise. But state lawmakers added other school employees to the equation and asked school districts to award the raises based on merit.

Now it's up to local districts to negotiate with unions to determine how the raises will be distributed.

Florida Education Association President Andy Ford hopes those talks will happen quickly. He says education support workers in Orange County have already hammered out a deal with the school board.

"So it is doable to get to the table and get a deal cut and hopefully school boards and unions will sit down and they'll come up with something fairly quickly."

Ford says teachers overall feel good about the extra cash coming their way.

"Teachers understand that it's a step in the right direction. I don't think it has made a political change in their minds at this point. But I think they're very appreciative of the money because they are so far down below the national average. This does move us a little."

Ford says the average salary for Florida teachers is about $10,000 below the national average.

He calls the new pay raise a step in the right direction, even if it is just a "baby step."

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