Florida: Disaster Relief Payments to Pinellas County Educators

Governor Ron DeSantis Presents Pinellas County Educators With $1,000 Disaster Relief Payments

TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis handed out the first of nearly 177,000 Disaster Relief Payments of up to $1,000 to Florida’s educators in recognition of their hard work to educate students in the 2020-2021 school year. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Florida’s educators, the state was the first to reopen and ensure in-person instruction would be made available to parents five days a week.

“Considering how challenging the past year was for teachers, we knew it was important to recognize and reward them for their hard work,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.  “Having great teachers makes a difference.  Great teachers, great principals and great administrators lead directly to better outcomes for Florida’s students, and I was proud to join some great teachers at Lakewood Elementary today to hand them $1,000 bonuses.”

“Hands down, our students have directly benefitted from the compassion and dedication of our heroic educators throughout the pandemic.  Having a world-class teacher who unconditionally loves their students in the front of every classroom is the most effective way to meet the individual needs of students of every background,” said Commissioner Richard Corcoran.  “We have to remember that Florida has millions of highly vulnerable students and they have been the students most at risk the entirety of the time.  Their success directly rests on the hearts and minds of our amazing teachers and leaders.  Those students were, and still are, the ones in greatest need of in-person instruction as we begin the 2020-2021 school year.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor DeSantis, our educators will receive a welcome $1,000 recognition,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson.  “Opening our schools last year was the right decision and teachers throughout the state were on the front lines of getting Florida’s education system back on track.  I can’t thank them enough for their dedication and commitment to their students.”

“Today I stand with Governor DeSantis in our commitment to Florida educators to recognize their hard work and dedication to our students,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls.  “I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for supporting our vision to reward our educators for a job well done.”

“Governor DeSantis’ bold, visionary decisions continue to support a world-class education for our kids,” said State Board of Education Chairman Tom Grady.  “Florida’s teachers deserve this recognition and I am grateful for our Governor’s leadership and his commitment to rewarding them.”

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis, Senate President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls and the entire legislative body for recognizing the outstanding work of our educators and administrators,” said Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego.  “Teachers are the heart of our community and have always gone above and beyond to put the needs of students first.  I am so grateful that their dedication is being honored and rewarded.”

Governor DeSantis held the event at Lakewood Elementary School in Pinellas County.  Throughout the school year, Lakewood Elementary experienced exemplary in-person participation and is a shining example of a school succeeding in School Turnaround.  In fact, the school successfully improved its school grade from an “F” to an “A” between 2019 and 2021.  At the event, Governor DeSantis recognized Brittany Duquaine and Lynn Price as outstanding educators at the school who have contributed to the schools incredible turnaround.

Teachers delivered students with high-quality instruction across all learning modalities while facing many challenges, including routine functions that were stressed by the pandemic.

Although all students need world-class educators in the front of classrooms, students especially in need are students with disabilities, those with food insecurities and those in need of mental health or who are suffering from abuse at home.

Educators Eligible for Disaster Relief Funds

  • Full-time K-12 classroom teachers employed in a district or at a charter school as of June 2, 2021, or on the last day of school;
  • Certified prekindergarten teachers employed in a district or at a charter school as of June 2, 2021, or on the last day of school, and who are funded by the Florida Education Finance Plan (FEFP); and
  • Principals employed by a district or a charter school that serves PK-12 students as of June 2, 2021, or on the last day of school.