$1,000 bonus stimulus checks are being sent to teachers in some states

While the federal government as of right now is not sending out a fourth stimulus check, some states and school districts are using one-time payments of $1,000 in stimulus money to thank and retain teachers. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)AP

By: Katherine Rodriguez

If you are wondering if the federal government is sending out a fourth stimulus check at this time, chances are, the answer is no.

However, some states and local school boards are using federal stimulus money to give a one-time $1,000 bonus payment to teachers as a way to thank them for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also is to help retain teachers and staff, as educators have had to balance virtual and in-person teaching while schools opened and closed.

Some are, however, questioning whether this is the best way to use federal stimulus funding.

So far, Michigan, Georgia and Florida already have disbursed or agreed to send payments to their teachers.

Michigan sent out $500 in hazard pay bonuses for teachers and $250 for staffers at the end of February, costing the state $73 million.

Georgia issued a $1,000 “retention bonus” in March to about 230,000 K-12 public school teachers and staffers. The money came from the $660.6 million in stimulus money the state received, and the program will cost $230.5 million.

Florida proposed a similar payout to teachers and principals in March as part of the state budget. An estimated 175,000 teachers and 3,600 principals in the state will start receiving a “thank you” bonus of $1,000 next month (but other school staffers were left out).

The money for the bonuses came out of $216 million in federal stimulus money, and the U.S. Department of Education this week told Florida education officials that using stimulus relief for this would “conflict” with federal guidelines for aid spending.

However, according to a report, the governor still expects Florida teachers to receive the $1,000 payments when the school year begins.

Colorado, California, Texas, and Tennessee also have deliberated about the use of these bonuses for teachers.

Meanwhile, a bill in Hawaii to give teachers a one-time $2,200 payment was vetoed by the governor.

New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are not currently among the states proposing or paying out stimulus bonuses to its teachers and staff at this time.

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