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Florida governor proposes pay increase, bonuses for teachers

November 10, 2021 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is again proposing to increase teacher wages and to provide another round of bonuses, he announced Wednesday.

DeSantis held a news conference at a Jacksonville school to highlight education budget proposals, which still need to be approved by the Legislature. It includes $600 million to raise teacher salaries.

“Our goal is to increase, particularly, the average minimum salary in the state of Florida so we can continue to attract great people into the teaching profession,” DeSantis said.

He also wants to hand out $1,000 bonuses to the state’s nearly 177,000 teachers and principals. This year, at DeSantis’ request, the Legislature approved using federal pandemic relief money to provide $1,000 bonuses for educators.

Another $65 million in bonuses is proposed for teachers who complete the Florida Civics Seal of Excellence program.

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DeSantis earlier this year said he wants to eliminate the state’s annual standardized testing and replace it with a program it with assessments that monitor student progress throughout the year. On Wednesday he proposed spending $15.5 million to do so.

DeSantis didn’t provide the total figure he is proposing for K-12 education. He has until Dec. 12 to announce the proposed state spending plan. The Legislature doesn’t have to approve the governor’s budget request, but Republicans control the House and Senate and have worked closely with DeSantis in the past.