Learning design coaches, instructional trainers and other Pasco County school district teachers without assigned classrooms won’t be getting a bonus they received a year ago.
The district has not included funds to give those employees the equivalent of a Best and Brightest award in this year’s budget. And because of definitions in state law, they are not eligible for the state-funded program, which focuses specifically on “classroom teachers.”
A year ago, the district administration and School Board insisted on using a portion of the money set aside for added pay to give a bonus similar to Best and Brightest, to the teachers who did not meet the state criteria. Depending on their evaluation rating, those educators received either $800 or $1,200.
That money isn’t part of the district’s offered pay package, which includes 2 percent average raises and is headed to impasse hearings.
“Last year the district was able to fund additional scholarships/bonuses for the teachers excluded by the state. However, we used nonrecurring revenue to do so and do not have access to those funds any longer,” assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley explained via email. “The teachers who are not receiving Best and Brightest Scholarship/Bonuses this year are in the same group the state excluded last year. We just don’t have the available local funds to make them whole like we were able to do last year.”
This change does not affect anyone’s bi-weekly salary, as the money was paid as a one-time bonus. But it will make a difference to some of the faculty’s bottom line, a point not lost on those who have fought against the idea of bonuses (the current preference at the state level) as opposed to pay raises, which are not generally as open to annual review.