Parents Enraged As They Learn Where COVID Funding Really Went

Millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds are being transformed into four-figure “thank you” bonuses for teachers and staff in many states, causing fury among parents for the misuse of pandemic funds.

States joining in on the trend include Colorado, California, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. With more states set to jump in soon. The move is ironic since California is where teachers resisted restoring in-person learning for months.

Georgia was the first state in the country to accept bonuses for teachers. Leaders in the state decided to award $1,000 payments to more than 230,000 employees. The price tag for the program came to $230.5 million, or around 35 percent of the state’s money, as detailed by The WallStreet Journal. Many parents are angered by these teacher bonuses.

The bonuses are supposedly a desperate push to stop educators from resigning because of low morale. Teachers are reporting they are depressed after the pandemic forced them to move to remote learning and then return to in-person teaching.

Over $190 billion in pandemic relief funds were given to schools with almost no restrictions on how they could use the money.

“We need a sort of morale boost, and our answer was giving the bonus,” said Matt Jones, who is the leader of Georgia’s state dept. of education.

In California, around $2.8 million is being given to teachers as a 3.5 percent bonus before the upcoming school year.

Over 170,000 Florida teachers are expected to get a $1,000 check in the next weeks too. The payments are a part of the $101.5 billion state budget that was enacted by Governor DeSantis in July. That did not stop the teacher’s union in the state from attacking him, however.

DeSantis said, “We understand the pandemic put a lot of stress on our first responders, EMTs and law enforcement, and so we think that we should recognize their sacrifice.”

Andrew Spar, the leader of Florida’s Education Association, said that teachers will “appreciate this help.” But he also said “The devil is in the details.”

Spar unappreciatively responded while also taking a hit against DeSantis, “If this was genuine, the money would have been awarded to everyone who work in schools.” He said.

Author: Blake Ambrose