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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Want a Best and Brightest teacher bonus? Don't look to the state for help

Despite widespread opposition, Florida lawmakers extended the state's controversial Best and Brightest teacher bonus into the 2016-17 school year, adding $5 million to the pot.

Even many teachers who oppose the concept of being rewarded for their SAT and ACT scores, which sometimes have been difficult to retrieve, applied for the cash. Nearly $10,000 is hard to turn down.

But some complained that they were unfairly denied. One Sarasota educator turned to the courts to secure her award.

On Friday, the Department of Education made clear that it won't interfere with districts' decisions on who gets the money. In a memo to superintendents, chancellor Hershel Lyons stated that the department has no authority to say who qualifies for the bonus.

"The Legislature did not give rulemaking authority to the Department of Education (department), and the department has no authority to supervise
or review the eligibility determinations made by the district school boards," Lyons wrote. "Each district school board should review the statute, and make its own decision regarding eligibility questions."

The deadline to submit test scores this year is Nov. 1. The money should go to eligible teachers no later than April 1.

[Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2016 3:34pm]


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