Teachers could receive $1,000 annual bonuses for teaching computer science classes in middle and high schools under a bill approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee.
The measure (SB 1056), sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, is designed to increase the number of computer science classes and students taking those classes.
Passidomo said while computer science and software jobs are a fast-growing segment of Florida’s economy, “we just don’t have enough teachers to teach students to do that.”
Under the bill, teachers who are evaluated as “effective” and have a certification in computer science and teach computer science courses would be eligible for $1,000 annual bonuses for up to three years.
Teachers who have an industry certification in computer technology and teach courses would be eligible for $500 annual bonuses for up to three years.
The bill also would phase in a requirement for school districts to increase the number of computer science classes.
Districts that have more than 10 middle and high schools would be required to provide computer science courses in at least 10 percent of the total schools by the 2020-2021 academic year.
The legislation is a priority for the state Department of Education and Gov. Rick Scott.