Florida teachers can expect a $1,000 bonus in their mailboxes which was pushed by the governor

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Roughly 175,000 Florida teachers and 3,600 principals can expect a $1,000 bonus in their mailbox as part of a 200 million dollar investment pushed by the governor and passed by the legislature this year.

The Florida Education Association says it knows the teachers and principals who receive their $1,000 bonuses will appreciate the help.

Andrew Spar President, Florida Education Association : “The devil’s in the details.” “But the union also says the 120-130,000 other school staff members across the state should have been included in the legislature’s thank you package.”

Andrew Spar President, Florida Education Association : “If this was truly genuine, first of all the money would have been given to all who work in our schools.”

FEA is also critical of the decision to send paper checks, which it blames for a delay in the rollout of the bonuses.

Andrew Spar President, Florida Education Association : “They could have just sent that money to districts and gotten it out immediately.”

House k-12 Appropriations Chair Randy Fine didn’t mince words when we asked him what he thought about the union’s critiques.

Rep. Randy Fine: “This makes me think real long and hard about whether we want to do anything like this ever again.”

Jake Stofan: “FEA also suggested while the bonuses might be a nice gesture, addressing overall teacher pay would have been a better way to show appreciation, as the state ranks 48th in the nation for average teacher salaries.”

The state has invested more than a billion dollars over the past two years to raise starting teacher salaries and fine not so gently reminded the union this year’s bonuses didn’t have to happen.

Rep. Randy Fine: “This was our effort to do something nice for teachers. If they’re not going to appreciate it we can spend the couple hundred million dollars differently next year.”

The union is also concerned teachers who retired or quit prior to June 1st of this year may not be eligible for the bonuses, even if they worked through the pandemic.

We were unable to get a definitive answer to that question in time for this story.

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