Pasco schools learn FCAT recognition money is on the way

WESLEY CHAPEL — As Feb. 1 came and went, teachers at John Long Middle School began wondering whether they would ever see a penny of the promised funding for their school's strong FCAT performance a year earlier.

The school learned it had earned an A back in June. Its advisory committee had to submit a plan to use its recognition money by the end of January.

Yet the state Department of Education gave schools no indication of how much to expect, much less whether the funds would be coming at all. Delayed high school grades, and then appeals to those marks, held the news in limbo.

"We were wondering if and when the state was going to release the money," Long Middle principal Christine Wolff said.

The doubts ceased on Thursday, as schools got word that the department had announced the amounts each one would receive, at $70 per student, along with word that the check was on its way.

The Pasco district finance office quickly sent confirmation to the schools.

"Please share this information with your staff," chief finance officer Olga Swinson wrote, along with a list of how the county's $2.8 million would be disbursed. "Finance Services will contact you to give you details about moving forward with your school's plan."

In past years, school plans have caused heated disputes. Factions within schools have battled over who should get bonuses with the windfall, and then how much everyone should get.

Sometimes groups advocated to keep the money in the school for supplies or extra help, noting that bonuses get 40 percent taken off the top for federal income taxes while the other expenses are tax free. At least a small group of schools each year have historically gone this route.

This time around, with raises and other contractual monetary incentives out of the picture, such debates have been muted.

All the schools reached by the Times indicated that their plans for the recognition funds will go to staff bonuses.

"Everyone is getting an equal share of the money," Wolff said. "All personnel who worked at the school last year."

The Long Middle staff and school advisory committee rejected a slight modification that would have given partial payments to employees who worked at the school only part of the year.

Anclote High School, which is getting recognition funds for the first time, also went for bonuses. Anyone who worked at the school at least 80 percent of the 2010-11 academic year will share in the money the school gets for raising its F grade to an A.

"There was also another plan, which was to contribute a percentage back for supplies for the school," principal Monica Ilse said. "It was felt that, being a new school, there was not a need in that area."

The school didn't have much time to debate the issue, regardless, having only learned of its grade less than a month before the state mandated that plans be turned in.

Questions have continued to circulate throughout Florida education circles about whether the recognition funds, established during Jeb Bush's administration, should remain part of the state's funding plan.

Some teacher associations have argued that the money should be placed into the general fund for all employees to benefit, as opposed to only those at schools that make gains on FCAT or earn an A in the state grading system. Other critics have suggested that the approximately $110 million should go toward the state's recently required merit pay plan, which has yet to be funded.

Some Florida senators have discussed moving the recognition funds into extended day programs such as after-school care and tutoring for 2012-13, while the House approved a budget that would increase the fund back to $100 per student at the awarded schools.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at jsolochek@tampabay.com, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Breakdown by school

SchoolStudentsAmount
Pasco High1,265.93$88,615.00
Trinity Elementary531.68$37,218.00
Seven Springs Middle1,285.10$89,957.00
Denham Oaks Elementary801.84$56,129.00
Wesley Chapel High1,279.84$89,589.00
Chasco Middle761.46$53,302.00
Chasco Elementary647.74$45,342.00
Pasco Middle723.12$50,618.00
James W. Mitchell High1,687.84$118,149.00
Centennial Middle667.86$46,750.00
Oakstead Elementary972.75$68,093.00
Trinity Oaks Elementary720.23$50,416.00
Dr. John Long Middle1,776.21$124,335.00
Wiregrass Ranch High2,044.66$143,126.00
West Zephyrhills Elementary764.40$53,508.00
Charles S. Rushe Middle1,327.39$92,917.00
Crews Lake Middle818.04$57,263.00
Veterans Elementary814.34$57,004.00
Watergrass Elementary486.08$34,026.00
Anclote High1,150.50$80,535.00
Odessa Elementary637.24$44,607.00
Woodland Elementary861.77$60,324.00
Connerton Elementary808.99$56,629.00
Mittye P. Locke Elementary552.54$38,678.00
Richey Elementary573.40$40,138.00
Cotee River Elementary602.03$42,142.00
Gulf High1,291.35$90,395.00
Bayonet Point Middle820.85$57,460.00
Thomas E. Weightman Middle1,074.19$75,193.00
River Ridge High1,548.62$108,403.00
River Ridge Middle1,059.32$74,152.00
Hudson High1,132.01$79,241.00
Shady Hills Elementary456.60$31,962.00
Pine View Elementary731.66$51,216.00
Pine View Middle821.58$57,511.00
Ridgewood High1,199.18$83,943.00
Calusa Elementary592.49$41,474.00
Lake Myrtle Elementary780.34$54,624.00
Sand Pine Elementary670.88$46,962.00
Wesley Chapel Elementary578.61$40,503.00
Longleaf Elementary650.28$45,520.00
Seven Oaks Elementary931.20$65,184.00
Dayspring Academy490.00$34,300.00
Academy at the Farm379.34$26,554.00
Countryside Montessori Academy209.00$14,630.00
Imagine School at Land O' Lakes475.56$33,289.00

Pasco County Schools

Breakdown by school



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































School



Students



Amount



Pasco High



1,265.93



$88,615.00



Trinity Elementary



531.68



$37,218.00



Seven Springs Middle



1,285.10



$89,957.00



Denham Oaks Elementary



801.84



$56,129.00



Wesley Chapel High



1,279.84



$89,589.00



Chasco Middle



761.46



$53,302.00



Chasco Elementary



647.74



$45,342.00



Pasco Middle



723.12



$50,618.00



James W. Mitchell High



1,687.84



$118,149.00



Centennial Middle



667.86



$46,750.00



Oakstead Elementary



972.75



$68,093.00



Trinity Oaks Elementary



720.23



$50,416.00



Dr. John Long Middle



1,776.21



$124,335.00



Wiregrass Ranch High



2,044.66



$143,126.00



West Zephyrhills Elementary



764.40



$53,508.00



Charles S. Rushe Middle



1,327.39



$92,917.00



Crews Lake Middle



818.04



$57,263.00



Veterans Elementary



814.34



$57,004.00



Watergrass Elementary



486.08



$34,026.00



Anclote High



1,150.50



$80,535.00



Odessa Elementary



637.24



$44,607.00



Woodland Elementary



861.77



$60,324.00



Connerton Elementary



808.99



$56,629.00



Mittye P. Locke Elementary



552.54



$38,678.00



Richey Elementary



573.40



$40,138.00



Cotee River Elementary



602.03



$42,142.00



Gulf High



1,291.35



$90,395.00



Bayonet Point Middle



820.85



$57,460.00



Thomas E. Weightman Middle



1,074.19



$75,193.00



River Ridge High



1,548.62



$108,403.00



River Ridge Middle



1,059.32



$74,152.00



Hudson High



1,132.01



$79,241.00



Shady Hills Elementary



456.60



$31,962.00



Pine View Elementary



731.66



$51,216.00



Pine View Middle



821.58



$57,511.00



Ridgewood High



1,199.18



$83,943.00



Calusa Elementary



592.49



$41,474.00



Lake Myrtle Elementary



780.34



$54,624.00



Sand Pine Elementary



670.88



$46,962.00



Wesley Chapel Elementary



578.61



$40,503.00



Longleaf Elementary



650.28



$45,520.00



Seven Oaks Elementary



931.20



$65,184.00



Dayspring Academy



490.00



$34,300.00



Academy at the Farm



379.34



$26,554.00



Countryside Montessori Academy



209.00



$14,630.00



Imagine School at Land O' Lakes



475.56



$33,289.00

Pasco County Schools

Pasco schools learn FCAT recognition money is on the way 02/23/12 [Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012 8:51pm]

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