Florida officials said the economic recession and a cut in state funding to offset application fees may be to blame for a two-thirds dip in the number of teachers attaining National Board Certification. Although Florida still offers annual bonuses to NBCTs, the state has stopped paying 90% of the $2,500 application fee, leading many teachers to delay applying. Some Florida districts and teachers unions are working to help defray the application costs, saying the certification is worth the money. "The teachers who come out of this truly are the best we have," a union official said.

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