Florida Education Association (FEA) responds to Governor's proposed bonuses for teachers and principals

Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 31, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Education Association (FEA) released a statement Tuesday in response to the Governor's proposed $1,000 bonuses for public school teachers and principals.

RELATED: Florida's governor wants to give public school teachers, principals $1,000 bonuses

The FEA says that though they appreciate the recognition for teachers and principals, all staff deserve to be rewarded and that DeSantis is inappropriate in his actions to interfere with district priorities by not letting them decide what is best to do with the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief, or ESSER, funds which would be used to pay the bonuses.

Here's what they had to say:

"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."