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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Despite objections, lawmakers look to expand Best and Brightest teacher bonus program



Hopes for the demise of Florida's hotly debated Best and Brightest teacher bonuses faded last week as the $49 million budget item survived Gov. Rick Scott's veto list.

As a result, the program that rewards teachers for top performance evaluations and college entry exam scores will remain unchanged for another year, despite heavy criticism from some teachers and lawmakers.

What's more, legislative leaders have set their sights on expanding the program in 2017 and making it law, rather than a year-to-year line in the budget.

"I think you'll see more money added," said incoming House speaker Richard Corcoran, a strong proponent of the bonuses. "There's a lot of improvements we've been working on."

Among those, Corcoran expects to funnel more bonus money to teachers in Title I schools, which serve high percentages of low-income students.

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[Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2016 10:56am]


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