Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has come under fire after his state issued one-time bonuses worth $1,000 to first responders and teachers, with some calling the move "a joke" and saying the governor is "wasting money."
DeSantis announced last March that about 3,600 public school principles and almost 180,000 teachers in the state would receive one-time bonuses amounting to $216 million in total, and in May he announced that about 174,000 first responders in Florida would split a total of $208 million. Some of the criticism he’s received, according to the Tampa Bay Times, has been because the decision leaves out certain employees, such as student counselors and assistant principles.
The Florida Departments of Education and Economic Opportunity both agreed to contracts with Fidelity Information Services to pay $3.6 million helping to issue the checks, which will bear the governor’s logo, and in order to collect information on teachers and first responders to find out if they are eligible for the bonuses. This move was made as a result of a bipartisan decision by the state’s legislature following a push from DeSantis.
However, the move was met with criticism from the head of the Florida Teacher’s Association, Andrew Spar, who told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that "they could have just sent the money to school districts at no cost to taxpayers. It sounds like the governor’s wasting money."
State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran defended the decision, saying that the state is "trying to do that as a direct thank you ... so they know we appreciate the great work they did."
Florida Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani tweeted "What a joke. It’s all about getting credit, and it’s not even FL money — it’s from the American Rescue Plan!"
She added in another tweet that DeSantis "wants his name on these $1000 bonuses which not only costs extra money but also takes more time."
The governor’s office did not respond immediately to requests for comment from Fox News.
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