Deadline approaches for Florida schools to set recognition fund plans
Appeals for Florida's high school state grades won't be settled yet. But the Feb. 1 deadline for schools to submit plans to the FLDOE on how they will use their recognition funds remains firm and fast approaching.
Schools that either improved their state grade, or maintained an A grade, stand to receive $100 per student, which they can use for bonuses, equipment or salaries for temporary staff. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of schools and their advisory committees choose to give out bonuses to staff, many of whom have not seen raises for years.
But if they don't agree upon a distribution plan for the money by Feb. 1, the money automatically goes to current year teachers at the schools and no one else -- regardless of who actually contributed to the school's FCAT performance last year for the grade.
We're all well aware that reaching an agreement is not always as easy as it might seem. Staffs have argued over whether cafeteria workers, for instance, deserve as much money as classroom teachers. Sometimes parents have pushed to spend money on equipment to benefit students who, after all, performed well on the test to earn the school grade. And so forth.
Hillsborough County's school improvement office recommends that schools start early in the year making plans for their funds, to provide plenty of time to work through any snags. Some employee groups, meanwhile, continue to argue that the recognition funds, started in the 1990's, should be eliminated and put into the general fund to support all schools and also dumping the divisiveness.
What is your school doing to prepare for its recognition funds, if it's getting any? Does the system need an overhaul?