Florida education department announces school recognition awards

The Legislature gives extra money to schools based on the state grading system.
[Associated Press | 2016]
[Associated Press | 2016]
Published Oct. 22, 2018

The clock is ticking for hundreds of Florida schools to decide how to spend an extra $100 per student they'll receive for their 2017-18 student testing results.

Districts learned late Friday which schools qualified for the state's program recognizing their student performance, based on school grades. Those earning or maintaining an A receive the money, along with those that improved at least one letter grade.

The Legislature set aside just over $123 million for the schools, which now must create plans for the funding.

They can use the money for one-time bonuses, school supplies and equipment, or temporary employees. Annually, the vast majority of the money goes into bonuses.

If the schools' advisory councils and staffs cannot agree upon a plan by Feb. 1, the state mandates that the award be distributed to all teachers currently at the school.

Critics have suggested such a requirement — and the recognition program in general — is created to generate discord among different groups inside schools. They have suggested the allocation go instead into the state general fund to support increased salaries for teachers and support staff.

Lawmakers have rejected that idea, though, saying they prefer to continue rewarding excellence as measured by the state testing and accountability system.

In the Tampa Bay area, ten Hernando County schools are set to receive $565,063; 107 Hillsborough County schools will share $9,184,728; 35 Pasco County schools will get $2,991,796; and 59 Pinellas County schools will distribute $4,240,454.

To see if your school is getting any of the money, see the full state listing.