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Teachers and support staff all deserve a reward

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) appreciates that Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to show he values teachers, but we maintain that all public school employees deserve recognition and reward.

“We support money for teachers and school staff, as almost all have put in extra time and their own personal resources to keep kids safe and learning during Covid,” said FEA President Andrew Spar. “They transformed the learning system in March of last year and then again in August as we reopened. Recommending a $1,000 bonus for some school employees continues the governor’s strategy of picking winners and losers in our schools. It takes a village to educate Florida’s children.”

Gov. DeSantis proposed Wednesday that the Legislature approve funding to award $1,000 bonuses this year to Florida public school teachers and principals. The money would come from the federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief, or ESSER, funds passed by Congress in response to Covid. FEA asserts that use of the funds should be left up to our school districts. It is not appropriate for the governor to continue to interfere with local district priorities.

Thinking beyond a one-time bonus, all educators deserve fair salaries that take into account and reward their years of experience. And even as the governor talks bonuses and respect for educators, some state lawmakers are moving to take away the retirement security of everyone who works in our schools, and to limit the freedoms of teachers to join together to advocate for their students and their profession.

CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees. Connect with FEA on Facebook, Twitter and at https://feaweb.org.

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