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Legislators Want Teacher Supply Debit Cards Delivered Earlier

Florida lawmakers are revamping a program giving teachers spending money for classroom supplies.  the program didn’t get much use last year, largely because the debit cards didn’t get to teachers until after the start of the school year.

The Teacher Supply program gives teachers prepaid debit cards to purchase classroom supplies, but school districts didn’t make much use of the program last year. A bill by Miami Representative Eric Fresen would guarantee an earlier delivery:

“Superintendents came to us to ask for some flexibility to have the funds to be distributed a little earlier which is common-sensical to the extent that teachers could have his or her funds available prior to the school year starting, so that’s essentially what this bill does," he said. "It allows for the funds to be distributed as soon as possible, even before the school year starts.”

Governor Rick Scott touted the program last year as part of his education budget. The state put about $45.2 million into the program, giving the average teacher about $250. The program has existed for more than 15 years. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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