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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

High school grades are coming: Have you made recognition fund plans yet?



In the better late than never category, the Florida Department of Education is tentatively scheduled to release high school 2010-11 grades on Wednesday, nearly a month after reporting the schools' official graduation and dropout rates.

Most school leaders already have projected their grades, having known their FCAT and AP results for months. By and large, they haven't waited for formal word from the state to make any needed improvements to their academic offerings.

What they might not have done is prepare a plan for recognition funds coming from the state for their successes. (For that matter, many elementary and middle schools might not have taken that step, either, even though they have had their grades since June.)

Only a few weeks remain.

The deadline to submit a plan to distribute the money -- which can be used only for bonuses, equipment or temporary personnel -- remains Feb. 1, even though the date for grade appeals would extend beyond that. Without agreement between SAC and staff, the money goes to current-year teachers only.

Funds are to be distributed the week of Feb. 20.

Deputy commissioner Kris Ellington urged superintendents to stick to the schedule in a recent memo:

"There has been some concern expressed regarding the February 1st deadline for making decisions about expenditure of these funds. Section 1008.36(4), F.S., states that if the school’s staff and the school advisory council cannot reach agreement by February 1, the awards must be equally distributed to all classroom teachers currently teaching in the school. Once the grades are released on or about January 4th, schools eligible for school recognition funding should prepare their plans for use of the funds and finalize these by this statutory date. Note that the statute does not require funds be disbursed by February 1. Schools that may become eligible for these funds based on an appeal submitted to the Department may wish to prepare a plan in case their appeal is granted."

Has your school made plans for its recognition funds? How do you think the money should be spent?

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 2:43pm]


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