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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

It's bonus time, and some teachers don't like it



Stack_of_money It's that time of year again where schools are doling out bonuses to teachers and staff members.

Schools receiving recognition funds have until Nov. 1 to set up their plans, or all the money goes to classroom teachers only. Meanwhile, the handful of Florida districts to adopt the Merit Award Program for performance pay have begun distributing the checks.

You might think that the distribution of checks, particularly in these tight economic times, would bring a smile. But the money is wrapped up in politics, so the awards aren't necessarily going down easily.

For example, just check out this Pensacola News-Journal story about how Escambia teachers are practically embarrassed to admit they received the performance bonus while their colleagues did not. Or see this morning's Times story about how top-rated schools can struggle to distribute recognition funds.

Many educators suggest that such extras should not come at the expense of all the dedicated people who work daily for students and schools at too low pay. They have asked lawmakers to put the cash into salaries first, but to no avail.

"We shouldn't punish our high-performing teachers and our high-performing schools in tough economic times," said Rep. John Legg, a member of the House Schools and Learning Council.


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:00am]


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