July 9, 2021

Florida has other options for teacher bonuses, even if U.S. nixes first plan, experts say [Orlando Sentinel]

Leslie Postal writes:

"Though told last week that its education bonus plan would run afoul of federal rules, Florida still could give teachers and principals $1,000 awards, if it paid them from another pot of COVID-19 relief funds, not the one it initially identified, budget experts say.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education told the state its plan to use nearly $216 million in federal money to pay bonuses to classroom teachers and principals did not appear allowable. Most of that money, the department said in a letter, should go to help with students’ 'learning loss' and not for 'premium pay.'

But Florida likely could use other federal relief money — the same fund that will be used to pay $1,000 bonuses to first responders — to give similar awards to school employees, said Holly Bullard, chief strategy and development officer for the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added].

'There’s opportunities to shift gears,' she said."


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