Gov. DeSantis proposes new teacher bonus program

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — In another move towards teacher pay increases, Governor Ron DeSantis pitched a new bonus program on Thursday.

The bonuses would be directed toward teachers and principles working in low-income areas; the proposed cost of the program is $300 million.

This, as DeSantis aims to make 2020 the ‘Year of the Teacher,’ following concerns of a teacher shortage in the state due to low pay, recruitment and retention of educators state-wide. 

Now, lawmakers question the feasibility of this plan and the teacher pay increases proposed at the beginning of October, which would cost around $600 million.

Bay District Schools Human Resources Director, Shirley Baker, says while the raises and bonuses are welcome, they need to be well thought out. 

“As with raises, we support a plan that’s going to give our teachers more money,” she said on Friday. “What we hope is, with ‘Best and Brightest’ they didn’t really think through the implementation, and that they just take some time to work out the details.”

According to representative Chris Latvala, the speaker’s office is looking into different options to increase teacher pay and will weigh those options along with the Governor’s proposal ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session which begins on January 14th. 

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