Education A State Capitals Roundup

Gov. Bush Proposes Incentives for Teachers

By Lesli A. Maxwell — January 31, 2006 1 min read

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last week unveiled a $239 million proposal to pay for signing bonuses, laptop computers, college-loan repayments, and other incentives to keep good teachers in classrooms and attract tens of thousands of new ones.

The most expensive piece of Gov. Bush’s plan, announced Jan. 23, is a $188 million initiative to buy laptop computers for all 164,000 public school teachers in the state. Tax revenue generated from soon-to-open slot-machine casinos would pay for the computers.

Mr. Bush also wants higher pay for teachers in needy schools, who take on duties outside the classroom such as mentoring a new teacher, or who teach hard-to-staff subjects. His plan includes $48 million for districts to spend on signing bonuses, housing assistance, and other perks for would-be teachers.

The proposal requires legislative approval. Republicans pledged support, while Democrats criticized it for not including salary increases for all Florida teachers.