Feds question relief funds for Florida teacher bonuses

Female teacher in protective mask giving lesson to children
Ron DeSantis made the bonuses one of his highest budget priorities

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ highly touted plan to give teachers and principals $1,000 bonuses using federal COVID-19 relief funds could be in trouble after the state was informed that extra pay appears to conflict with the intended use of the money.

The U.S. Department of Education sent Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran a letter on Wednesday saying that while there is a path to provide premium pay for educators, the way Florida approved the bonuses doesn’t appear to fit federal guidelines.

Ian Rosenblum, a deputy assistant secretary at the federal agency, said enhanced pay needs to be “reasonable and necessary.” He added that funds are to be used to address learning loss during the pandemic through programs that respond to students’ academic, social and emotional needs.

DeSantis made the bonuses one of his highest budget priorities and toured schools to tout them while posing with teachers holding an enormous mock check. DeSantis has also boasted about his decision to require in-person instruction at public schools at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year and has often said states that shut schools down were making a mistake that will have negative effects for years.

The Florida Department of Education is reviewing the letter, said spokesperson Jason Mahon.

“It is surprising that the U.S. Department of Education would suggest that a $1,000 disaster relief payment is not ‘reasonable or necessary’ given the dedication teachers in Florida have shown to keep schools open, allow in-person learning and recover lost learning the entire school year,” Mahon said in an email.

Rosenblum ended his letter by saying he’ll work with the state to make sure relief money is spent as intended.

Associated Press


  • Tom Palmer

    July 3, 2021 at 11:10 am

    DeSantis was right to open the schools. It will be interesting to see how the discussion unfolds on the bonus funding issue. If the Legislature didn’t hamstring local school boards so much on their funding decisions, there could be other sources of money for this kind of thing.

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 3, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    The lack of respect for common good practices is how the trumpcult ,Desantis et al, run the government. There is a public sector bargaining law in Florida. Desantis is just trying to BUY votes. Desantis is doing the divide and conquer bs.

    • Tom

      July 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm

      Hey Sonya. We can delete F and add another letter. Where do you get off? How dare you be so bitterly negative. Gov DeSantis is America’s Governor period! It was he who led the countryL in freedom from govt lockdowns. It was he who led on opening schools. Gov DeSantis is the whiz kid, who led with commonsense in studying science not Dem B.S. When Dems buy vote it’s all overlooked. America’s Governor is trying to repay teachers who were going the extra mile. Give me a break. Florida is fortunate to have this wonderful man serving the state. Grace, kindness and respect he demonstrates under fire, especially with rude comments. God Bless the Gov and family as I pray for him to do for America like he has for Florida!
      DeSantis in a landslide in 22 and 24 is wide open for the taking,

      • nadine voelz

        July 4, 2021 at 12:35 am

        Keep on drinkin’ the kool-aid, man. The current state administration is absolutely disgusting.

        • Tom

          July 5, 2021 at 11:46 pm

          No cool aid Nadine.
          America’s Governor will wipe Dems out. Nikki Fraud, LOL has she dropped out yet. Miserable candidate & campaign. Crispy critters, LMAO.
          DeSantis will sun in devastating landslide. Enjoy,

  • Arthro

    July 3, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Democrats are willing to throw teachers under the bus just to make sure DeSantis doesn’t get credit for doing a good thing.

    • nadine voelz

      July 4, 2021 at 12:37 am

      Taxes will be taken out of this so-called praise-worthy event, and they will be lucky to receive half of it. Plus it is very select in who it goes to and leaves out a big number of people.

      • Tom

        July 5, 2021 at 11:36 pm

        Oh so now No taxes should be paid.
        Never satisfied entitled. Typical Dummycrat con.

    • Phil Morton

      July 5, 2021 at 5:47 am

      Please remind me how many Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan which is where the $1000 is coming from. It also gave most everyone, teachers included, $1400. You may want to sit this one out.

      • Tom

        July 5, 2021 at 11:43 pm

        America’s Governor opened the schools unlike corrupt Dem Govs in other states. Novel thought Nadine & Phil, YE’s bonuses to “teachers” not bureaucracy. Shameful you are.

  • John

    July 11, 2021 at 8:53 am

    If people can get an extra $15,600 per year ($300/wk) to sit at home and do nothing, then teachers have definitely earned an extra $1000 for risking their own health to educate everyone’s children for them. Why are people upset that we pay those who work a little bit extra, but not upset that we pay those who don’t a lot?

Comments are closed.


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