$1,000 teacher bonuses promised by Desantis and Randy Fine deemed not allowed by the feds

Over 175,000 full-time classroom teachers and more than 3,000 principals across the state’s K-12 district schools could lose out on the state’s $1,000 teacher bonuses.

The US Department of Education told Florida’s Department of Education that using $216M in stimulus relief for the bonuses conflicts with federal guidelines for spending the aid. DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs Ian Rosenblum explained in a letter that the organization’s goal “is to support grantees in ensuring that funds are being used for allowable purposes”.

Before the governor supported the bonuses, Fine advocated against them saying he felt they were unnecessary because of recent teacher raises. “We just thought there were other things that could be done with the money other than giving teachers bonuses,” said Fine. However, once the Governor pushed for the bonuses, Fine said he was honored to include them in his budget.

Fine is the Chair of the K-12 appropriations subcommittee, and responsible for the budget. The 2021-22 K-12 education budget includes an average for school districts of $7,795 per student, an increase of $39, one of the lowest increases in recent years.

“We’re proud that we got the bonuses through,” DeSantis said during an event in Baker County. “We understand it was a unique set of circumstances that many of our schools had to do.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a announcement about teacher bonuses at Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences gymnasium on Wednesday afternoon during a press conference in Sarasota, Florida, on May 26, 2021.

Read the entire letter from the US Department of Education below.

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