BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $1,000 bonuses for Florida principals and classroom teachers are on the way.
The governor spoke from Baker County Middle School in Macclenny, near Jacksonville, Wednesday morning where the district was one of the first to open for in-person learning.
“The superintendents in Florida, the principals, the teachers, overwhelmingly wanted to get back, wanted to give the kids the ability to learn, face-to-face, because they understood how important it was,” DeSantis said.
The governor reiterated the importance of in-person learning for children, saying it is not solely beneficial academically.
“These kids need to be around their friends, you know, they need to be developing and they need to be able to have this,” he said.
DeSantis said the budget for these bonuses is to “recognize a job well done” for the principals and teachers throughout the state for school districts and public charter schools.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran joined the governor where he said the district in Baker County led the way for others in the state. He said 94% of students in the county returned for in-person learning and all of the teachers returned.
“What we found out was that our teachers, our education community, is the backbone of society,” Corcoran said.
He followed up by saying the in-person learning provided students, whether they were in elementary or high school, a sense of normalcy in “a crazy world.”
“They walked into a school and that one constant, that one normal, that one great fantastic thing was there was their teacher, there was their principal and it just got such a sense of normalcy,” he said.
The governor said he anticipates the budget will be signed in a couple of weeks and hopes the money will be rolled out in the summer. These bonuses follow the announcements of $1,000 checks for the state’s law enforcement and first responders.
DeSantis has been touring the state since Florida lawmakers gaveled out of the state’s legislative session last month. His visits have included signing bills into law.
On Monday, he signed the “social media platforms” bill, Senate Bill 7072, into law in Miami. The new law requires technology companies to explain their processes when censoring social media posts and gives Floridians the recourse to seek legal action against platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The governor also approved a tax relief package creating the state’s first-ever Freedom Week in Pensacola. The relief package also extends the state’s Back to School tax-free period.