More Florida educators might have a chance at an annual bonus after a measure to revamp the “Best and Brightest” bonus program passed the House Education Committee in a 17-1 vote on Friday.
The measure (PCB EDC 17-02), proposed by Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, would lower the score requirements on college-entrance exams and expand the number of tests used to qualify for the bonus. Principals can also earn additional pay by having larger numbers of teachers receiving Best and Brightest awards.
The bill has beent was criticized for relying too heavily on tests that teachers take before entering the classroom.
The lone committee member to vote against the bill, Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, said a statewide pay increase for teachers should be considered to attract teachers.
“If we were to just give teachers a raise, then I don’t think that we would have to deal with the “Best and Brightest” program,” he said.
Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, filed a similar bill (SB 1410) in the Senate last week.
Another overhaul to the bonus program was previously filed by the Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriates Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, but was withdrawn before its formal introduction.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.