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Pinellas schools receive $4 million for bonuses, school supplies

In this era of pay for performance, more than 40 Pinellas schools are receiving thousands of dollars for high achievement on standardized tests.

Palm Harbor University High is banking $244,329, while St. Petersburg High is raking in $224,606.

The smallest award? Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary's not-so-small $27,300.

So what is this iteration of merit-based money, often called "A+" funding, that has Pinellas schools suddenly $4 million richer?

It's the state's School Recognition Program, rewarding schools that fell into one of three categories: they received an "A" grade; improved one or more letter grades from the previous year; or sustained big gains for more than a year.

Each school can receive up to $100 per student, based on fall enrollment counts. Under state law, school staff and school advisory councils decide together how to spend the money, though they can't just head off to Disney World: the funds can be used for one-time bonuses, purchases of classroom materials, or the hiring of temporary staffers to aid students.

At Northeast High, 5 percent of the $182,812 reward was spent on school supplies, such as new calculators. The rest was split equally among all school staff, from principal Kevin Hendrick to the cafeteria workers and custodians.

"It shows that everyone's in this together," Hendrick said. "Whether you're serving breakfast or teaching AP calculus, or whatever part in between, everyone is valued and everyone matters in the achievement of students."

The bonuses, which came out to about $1,100 before taxes, "build a lot of morale for sure."

Woodlawn Elementary's staff also split its $44,469, although staffers voted to weight the bonuses based on employees' hourly rates.

Karen Russell, the school's principal, said it was a good reward after several years of state scrutiny.

"And I know the money helps staff get through the summer," she said.

Contact Lisa Gartner at You can follow her on Twitter @lisagartner.

Richer for success

Here is a list of schools that received extra money this year from the School Recognition Program, which is part of the state's accountability system.

Elementary schools

Bauder $76,257

Bay Vista Fundamental $64,850

Curlew Creek $62,246

Curtis Fundamental $53,550

Cypress Woods $71,545

Highland Lakes $54,998

Jamerson $54,317

Lake St. George $57,233

Lakeview Fundamental $34,750

Madeira Beach

Fundamental (K-8) $140,850

Oakhurst $71,428

Ozona $71,464

Pasadena Fundamental $46,300

Perkins $55,050

Plumb $77,685

Shore Acres $69,345

Starkey $62,556

Sutherland $52,950

Tarpon Springs

Fundamental $27,300

Woodlawn $44,469

Middle schools

Bay Point $100,764

Carwise $121,914

Clearwater Fundamental $85,100

Clearwater Intermediate $29,750

Oak Grove $114,400

Tarpon Springs $110,218

Thurgood Marshall

Fundamental $92,600

High schools

Boca Ciega $144,556

Clearwater $188,332

Dixie Hollins $168,698

Dunedin $136,647

East Lake $216,060

Gibbs $137,452

Lakewood $130,313

Northeast $182,812

Osceola Fundamental $170,011

Palm Harbor University $244,329

St. Petersburg $224,606

Tarpon Springs $146,704

Exceptional education schools

Hamilton Disston $9,951

Calvin A. Hunsinger $10,888

Charter schools

Pinellas Preparatory

Academy $43,850

Plato Academy $36,401

St. Petersburg Collegiate $21,788

Plato Academy North K-8 $32,000

Plato Academy South K-8 $32,002

Plato Seminole $27,150

Plato Academy

Tarpon Springs $21,000

Pinellas schools receive $4 million for bonuses, school supplies 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:25pm]
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