As 2021-2022 school year kicks off, Florida continues to roll out $1,000 bonuses to teachers & principals

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis School – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by YES Market Media

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As several Florida educators remain waiting or have received their $1,000 bonuses, Gov. Ron DeSantis made a quick stop at a school in St. Petersburg to hand-deliver checks to teachers.

DeSantis was joined by Florida Department of Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran, for a news conference at Lakewood Elementary School on Wednesday. Here, they presented checks to the school’s educators and instructors. The governor said the bonuses for teachers and principals will continue to roll out this week and next for those who have not received theirs yet.

The $1,000 bonuses were approved in the budget back in June. According to DeSantis, the checks will go to 3,600 principals and 175,000 teachers across the state. The educators who returned to their classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic were praised highly. 

“We really believe that what was done last year by having the kids in person is going to have probably as lasting of an impact as you can have, because the alternative of them not being able to access in-person learning, I think we’ve seen through other parts of the country, would have just been totally catastrophic,” he said.

During the announcement of teacher bonuses in May, the payments were described as recognizing “a job well done” for all the teachers and principals throughout the state for school districts and public charter schools.

“The bonuses were just because of how challenging last year was,” DeSantis said. “We thought it was important that we show a token of appreciation.”

“Really when you look at it from the state standpoint, the economy, everything, our teachers, literally, you know COVID attacked us and our teachers fought back and that’s what changed the state of Florida,” Corcoran added during Wednesday’s news conference.

However, it appears that those receiving these bonuses will still have to pay federal taxes for them as they are costing more than the checks themselves. The actual amount they can use is brought down to $700.

“Total funding available to implement the teacher and principal relief payments is $183.6 million provided from the state educational agency’s portion of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA),” state officials stated before the checks were distributed. “This is comprised of $179.5 million from ARP ESSER’s Administrative and Discretionary funding and $4.1 million from CRRSA ESSER.”

The news conference comes as several students, including those in central Florida, returned to school this week or who are beginning soon. It also comes as Corcoran is pursuing to withhold school officials’ salaries in both Leon and Alachua counties if they do not comply with Florida’s rule aimed at giving parents the option to decide whether children wear masks to school.

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