Gov. Rick Scott sparked a debate when he released the salary data on dozens of professors at Florida’s public universities. The move, said a Scott spokesperson, was simply about transparency. Critics, however, argued the data was released as part of Scott’s effort to push for major higher education change in the state. Now examination of the data by the Orlando Sentinel reveals that Florida professors actually earn less than the national average.

As the Sentinel reports, the average salaries of full-time professors at public universities in Florida came to about $6,000 below the national average. While the national average for professors’ salaries is $86,653, Florida’s average is just $80,879.

Via the Sentinel:

Scott’s office said he posted the information simply to make already-public information easier to find by creating a database that lists the names and annual salaries of the university system’s 50,000-plus employees.

But faculty leaders think he had other motives.

They say he posted the data to make it appear that universities are wasteful as he prepares to push for dramatic higher-education changes during the legislative session that begins in January.

In addition to posting salary data, Scott also recently sent letters to Florida’s 11 state university presidents, requesting data on how universities are meeting the needs of the state’s workforce. He specifically asked for information pertaining to the performance of the 50 highest-paid employees.

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