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Rick Scott's Teacher Debit Card Idea Is a Bust

Rick Scott's idea to give debit cards to teachers so that they can buy themselves school supplies without dipping into their own pockets has shockingly gone bust.

Mainly because, while the idea is a noble and good one, its execution was dumb.

Also, because the cards won't be ready until weeks after the school year has started already.

Because, Great Scott!

Scott came up with the idea -- or, at least pretended to -- to get state-funded debit cards from Chase Bank worth $250 into teachers hands to help alleviate their burden of having to purchase supplies with their own money.

The idea isn't very original, since Florida has been giving this form of aid to teachers since 1998 with the Teachers Lead initiative. Teachers had been getting around $180 to $200 in reimbursement, but Scott decided to up the amount to $250.

He also thought it would be neat to give teachers a tax-free debit card, and had banks compete for the right to be the distributor of said card.

JPMorgan Chase won. Congrats!

So far, only seven of the state's 67 districts have signed up for the cards, even though teachers everywhere across the state received emails as early as Wednesday asking to update their personal information for the cards.

The main problem with the cards is that Scott touted it via social media and pressers that this was going to be some kind of revolutionary shift for teachers. Instead, he got a big bank involved, where some may not feel comfortable giving up personal info to, and which has been late in getting the cards out.

Teachers are already reimbursed either via their federal tax return (up to $250 ) or via their Lead reimbursement in a separate check.

Scott has not conceded defeat, however, and touted the competitive bidding process involved in landing a big time bank.

"We went through a competitive bidding process for the cards," he said. "I think it was the right thing to do. Some things take longer [than expected]."

And then, as if to remind us all that he used to be a businessman and stuff (albeit, an extremely shady one!), Scott said that the challenges are there to tackle, and that the process will be a lot easier come next year.

"Like anything else - my background is in business - you try to do the best you can knowing that there are going to be some challenges," he said.

Maybe next year The Rick might want to just keep reimbursing teachers directly into their paychecks, or even with a separate government check, and skip the whole bank thing.

But. Hey. Businessman Governor!

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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