Local lawmaker talks $10K bonus for FL teachers

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LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Viewers have been taking to WINK News social media pages questioning a new state bonus of $10,000 for teachers.

With comments calling the bonus “outrageous,” and “absurd,” many viewers are also asking “why?”

The state created the bonus program that gives $10,000 to teachers if they scored in the top 20 percent of their ACT or SAT.

“The real perspective here was if we are going to offer an incentive program that will reward teachers with additional income, let’s try to focus that incentive on high achievers,” said Representative Matt Caldwell.

Caldwell said lawmakers picked ACT/SAT scores because the process is objective.

“It ensures neutrality, there’s no judgement call.”

When we asked if the $44 million dollars could be better spent, on the district or salaries, Caldwell said, “the focus here was purely about teacher compensation.”

The program allows teachers to re-take the ACT or SAT now, in order to qualify. There is an ACT test on September 12.

Caldwell says for now, the money is budgeted for a year, but they are hoping to do the same type of program year after year.

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