In two weeks Lauwanda Fitz will start her 11th year teaching middle school students.
“You just are able to help the children be better in their lives,” said Lauwanda.
The last two years of her teaching career have been fraught with budget cuts and layoffs.
“It’s been about five years since we’ve actually gotten a raise. As far as layoffs you see more,” said Lauwanda.
But good news for teachers is coming from Washington. Congress is sending Florida 1.3 billion dollars. Governor Charlie Crist says 550 million of it will be used to save 9-thousand teaching jobs.
“We need all the help we can get, especially in this economy, I mean it’s all about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” said Crist.
The money comes as cash-strapped schools prepare to implement stricter class size requirements. School superintendents are calling it a pleasant surprise.
“What ever dollars we can get to hire back teachers in the state of Florida is very very important,” said Jackie Pons, Leon County Schools Superintendent.
The real test will come next year when the state aid money is gone and the stimulus dollars have run out. The rest of the money, 780 million dollars will be used to pay for Medicaid, which accounts for about a third of the entire state budget.