Florida governor proposes changes to teacher bonus program

Florida
RON DESANTIS WITH TRUMP

PENSACOLA, FL – NOVEMBER 03: Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Pensacola International Airport on November 3, 2018 in Pensacola, Florida. President Trump is campaigning in support of Republican candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP/WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to restructure the state’s teacher bonus program, including bigger bonuses in schools with lower income students.

DeSantis made his announcement Thursday at a Vero Beach School, saying he’s proposing $300 million in bonuses for teachers and principals.

The three-tier system would provide the largest bonuses for the state’s best performing schools and lower bonuses for schools that improve their performances based on the state’s A through F grading system.

In each of the tiers, teachers in schools with low-income students would receive bonuses at least twice as high as teachers in other schools. DeSantis said the goal is to retain teachers in schools that need the most help.

The Florida Education Association criticized the bonus plan, saying teachers should instead receive raises that provide a more reliable income.

The governor said he also wants to give bonuses for teachers and principals who will work at title 1 schools.

The Governor’s proposal would provide bonuses to classroom teachers and school principals whose schools meet one of the following tier structures:

  • Tier 1: Schools earn 85 percent or greater of the total possible points or gain 6 or more points in their A-F school grading calculation;
  • Tier 2: Schools gaining 3 to 5 points in their A-F school grading calculation; or
  • Tier 3: Schools gaining 1 to 2 points in their A-F school grading calculation.

The bonus award amounts for teachers are as follows:

  • Tier 1: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $7,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $3,700;
  • Tier 2: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $3,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $1,750; and
  • Tier 3: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $1,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $500.

The bonus award amounts for principals are as follows:

  • Tier 1: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $10,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $5,000;
  • Tier 2: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $5,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $2,500; and
  • Tier 3: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $2,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $1,250.

Governor DeSantis also recently proposed an increase to the minimum salary for classroom teachers to $47,500 which would take Florida from the 26th highest minimum salary to the 2nd highest in the nation.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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