Gov. DeSantis hopes to sign budget in ‘next couple weeks’

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DeSantis answered questions about the budget after touting $1,000 teacher bonuses.

At a celebration for the completion of the first full in-person school year since COVID-19 began, Gov. Ron DeSantis hinted he would sign the state’s $101.5 billion dollar budget “very shortly.”

The press conference was in Baker County near Jacksonville.

Calling out “idiot experts” who said in-person school was dangerous for children, DeSantis praised the Baker County School District for opening its doors in August. He compared the district to those in other parts of the country, none of which he mentioned by name, that did not have an in-person school year.

“Even to this day you have enclaves in our country where parents do not have the right or the ability to send their kids to school in-person,” DeSantis continued. “This is the last day of school in Baker County, 180 days face-to-face. They’ve done it. They did basically a normal school year, and it was successful.”

In Baker County more than 90% of the students attended school in-person on the first day of the school year, Aug. 10, according to Sherrie Raulerson, Superintendent of Baker County Schools.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran echoed DeSantis’ praise for Baker County and called it “literally criminal” that some schools in America have not resumed in-person learning.

“You look at it, and you’re like, it’s not just heartbreaking, it’s not just wrong, it’s literally criminal,” Corcoran said.

The issue of the budget came up because DeSantis touted one item in the budget sure not to get his veto: 174,000 teachers and school principals will receive $1,000 bonus checks.

“We’re proud that we got the bonuses through. We understand it was a very unique set of circumstances that many of our schools had to do,” DeSantis said.

Funding for those bonuses will come from American Rescue Plan funds earmarked for schools. The distribution of those federal dollars has already started, but because that money was planned as part of the Legislature’s FY 2021-2022 budget, the teacher bonuses won’t go out in Florida until after DeSantis signs the budget.

DeSantis didn’t give an exact timeframe, but said he hoped to have the budget signed “in the next couple weeks.”

“We still have a lot of provisions we need to go through. We’re working on it,” DeSantis said.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected].

One comment

  • Michael Sola

    June 2, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Regular. Governor Disaster hypocrisy… His hand out to the Federal Government for the Rescue Plan while biting the hand that feeds him. You are a goner much like your Dad was out of the White House.

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