FAQ - School Recognition Funds

 
Other Common Terms for School Recognition Funds may be:  "A+ Funds", "A+ Reward", "Recognition Money" or "Bonus Money".  School Enhancement Funds are School Improvement Funds also commonly referred to as SAC funds.
 
Some common questions: 
1. Where can I find general information and responses to FAQ about this year's school recognition program?
2. Who decides how the award will be used?
3. How did this program come to be?
4. What is the formula for the DOE granting money to schools for school grades last year and for this year or where I might find the formulas? 
5. How much is awarded, where is the amount in law? 
6. What is the law that outlines the Florida School Recognition Program? 
7. What is the timeline for dispersing of the funds?
8. Is there a deadline for the decision on the use of these funds?
9. Who is defined as "Classroom Teachers"?
10. Can old faculty/new faculty receive bonuses?  What about collective bargaining?
11. May Florida School Recognition Program funds be used to provide bonuses to school staff who are not employees of the school board?
12. Samples of how schools spent their A+ money
 

1.     General information and responses to frequently-asked questions about this year's school recognition program is posted on the DOE web page. 
http://www.firn.edu/doe/evaluation/schrmain.htm

BACK

2.   Who decides how the A+ award will be used?
    SS 1008.36 F.S. clearly requires the school's staff and the school advisory council to JOINTLY decide the use of funds within the purposes allowed in law. The legislation requires the funds to be used for non-recurring staff and faculty bonuses, non-recurring expenditures for materials and supplies, for temporary personnel to assist in maintaining or improving student performance, or any combination of these.
The law does not, however, address how the joint decision is to be made. The process for making decisions and resolving conflicts is determined at the local level.

BACK

3.   How did this program come to be?
  The Governor visited over 200 public schools while running for Governor and met with hundreds of teachers, SAC members and principals. He received widespread advice that he work to get more funds directly to schools so decisions could be at the school level. So, as a candidate, in the summer of 1998 he proposed the A+ plan, which included $100 (2009- reduced to $75; 2008 - reduced to $85) per pupil to any school that improved a letter grade or sustained high achievement.  (--- great explanation by Stewart Brown, FL-SAC member)

BACK

4.  What is the formula for the DOE granting money to schools for school grades last year and for this year or where I might find the formulas?
     The statute citation for school recognition is 1008.36, F.S. The dollars are annually appropriated in the General Appropriations Act in "proviso" language, an explanation of legislative intent for individual line items. Each recognized school will receive $___ (each year it can be different since it is renewed through the General Appropriations Act)  per full-time equivalent (FTE) student based on last year's enrollment.

BACK

5.  How much is awarded, where is the amount in law? 
  It is a line item appropriation every year under the General Appropriations for the year inquired about. 

6. What is the law that outlines the Florida School Recognition Program? 
Title XLVIII - K-20 EDUCATION CODE, ASSESSMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
1008.36 Florida School Recognition Program.-- (was ss. 231.2905)

BACK

7. What is the timeline for dispersing of the funds?
These funds will be electronically transferred to school districts in early September.   School districts will place these funds in a school account at the district level and they will be immediately available when the school decides how to use the award money. These funds are not to be placed in a school's internal accounts.

"(4) All selected schools shall receive financial awards depending on the availability of funds appropriated and the number and size of schools selected to receive an award. Funds must be distributed to the school's fiscal agent and placed in the school's account and must be used for purposes listed in subsection (5) as determined jointly by the school's staff and school advisory council. If school staff and the school advisory council cannot reach agreement by November 1, the awards must be equally distributed to all classroom teachers currently teaching in the school."

BACK

8. Is there a deadline for the decision on the use of these funds?
November 1st is the deadline and there are no exceptions. Section 1008.36 (4), F.S.states that if the school staff and the school advisory council cannot reach agreement by November 1, the awards must be equally distributed to all classroom teachers currently teaching in the school.

BACK

9. Who is defined as "Classroom Teachers"?
Section 1008.36 (4), F.S. "As defined in Section 1012.01(2)(a), "F.S., classroom teachers are staff members assigned the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, career and technical education, and adult education, including substitute teachers." 

Section 1012.01(2), goes on to define student personnel services (guidance counselors), Librarians/media specialists,  Other instructional staff (example: learning resource specialists), Education paraprofessionals (example:  classroom paraprofessionals).

BACK

10. May faculty and staff who left at the end of the previous school year receive a bonus? May faculty or staff who are new to the school when funds are dispersed receive a bonus? Are these funds subject to collective bargaining?
Faculty and staff who left the school at the end of the previous school year may receive an award, (after all, they were teaching the year the school earned this award!) IF the decision is made before November 1st.

After November 1st, current classroom teachers will automatically receive bonuses.

According to Section 1008.36 (5), F.S., "Notwithstanding statutory provision to the contrary, incentive awards are not subject to collective bargaining."

BACK

11. May Florida School Recognition Program funds received pursuant to Section 231.2905, Florida Statutes, be used to provide bonuses to school staff who are not employees of the school board?
CONCLUSION: Our (General Counsel for DOE) answer is a qualified "Yes."
"It is our opinion that bonuses resulting from the Florida School Recognition program provided at Section 231.2905, Florida Statutes, may be awarded to the faculty or staff or a school regardless of an individual's actual employer, so long as the committee composed of the school staff and school advisory council determines that such individuals may receive the bonus and so long as the individuals are not otherwise precluded from accepting the bonuses."

BACK


12.  How did your school  spend The A+ School recognition money?

Email me and I will add your school! The results will be posted here to help other SAC's & faculty determine how their recognition money could be spent. 

School Recognition Funds are additional funds supplied by the state for a job well done. The spending of the money is, however, supposed to be decided on by both the school staff and the SAC. 

BACK


HOW SOME SCHOOLS SPENT THEIR A+ FUNDS:

Mariposa Elementary - 2001
Mariposa elementary received $70,550. from the A+ school recognition program. The SAC decided to give bonuses to the staff and from there it went to a vote from the staff.   The bonus monies will be allocated so that eighty percent will be expended on certified staff and twenty percent will be expended on support staff

"all certified staff members who returned to Mariposa will receive an equal share of the eighty percent and all support staff members who returned to Mariposa will receive an equal share of the twenty percent."

37 teachers against 27 support staff. MARIPOSA ELEMENTARY IS NOW TORN APART, WHILE OUR COUNTRY STANDS UNITED, MARIPOSA STANDS DIVIDED, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE TOLD YOU WERE ONLY WORTH TWENTY PERCENT BY YOUR PEERS!?!                             ~submitted by 'jadew' (first part of email address)
Lowry Elementary, Hillsborough County, 2001
Hillsborough County / Lowry Elementary - All $80,000 + went to bonuses. I don't understand this when parents and students are equally responsible for improvements in my opinion. The recognition program statute, 231.2905, states that incentives are commonplace in the private sector. This is true, however, the parents and students are ultimately responsible for almost all of the criteria listed for the award! The staff should absolutely share in the bonus, as they are an integral part of the equation.   ~ John Barker
2000 - Ocean Breeze Elementary, Brevard County
The staff was given a questionnaire to give input; SAC also gave input to the decision.  Ocean Breeze decided to divide the recognition money this way: 66% -- staff bonuses;  56% to certified employees; 10% to classified employees; 34% -- retained for equipment expenses -- they are talking about new TV sets for each classroom.

Also each staff member was asked to fill out a form stating whether they wanted it as a bonus in their check or as a classroom fund. Some of our teachers felt that they would be farther ahead of the game by having these funds put into a classroom account. That way they would get 100% of the money -- if it comes in their checks they are going to taxed as much as 28%.  (submitted by C. Michocki, SAC Parent)
(PERSONAL NOTE: I thought this was a great idea - using the money without taxes being taken!)
1999 - Woodlands Elementary, Seminole County - $80,000.00
"$1000.00 bonus to staff , $100.00 to each support staff. $250.00 for class expense and they wanted the balance for future years needs. We are an upper middle class neighborhood, not a single apartment in our zone, therefore our mobility rate is lower than other schools, we have some many parent volunteers that we are actually duking it out over positions (as all may be aware from my PTA/SAC postings), we can pick from the crème of the crop as far as teachers go, we will have the newest elementary school in district soon, etc......."From Sheila
1999 - Lake Mary High School - $100,000.00's 
Lake Mary High School received an amount in the $100,000.00"s and gave $money to all of the lower performing elementary schools that feed into them.  One other school (middle) set up and funded special programs for feeder school.  (post on FL-SAC email newslist)
1999 - Ashton Elementary Elementary School, Sarasota County - $114,000
Elementary school received $114,000 which used  80% of the money for teacher bonus and 20% for curriculum extras. The teachers ended up with about $700 a piece (and we decided on current staff, not the previous staff.)-- from Laura in Sarasota County
J.J. Finley Elementary, Alachua County
Gainesville Sun. :  The J.J. Finley Elementary SAC, had an emergency meeting and decided to spend $32K out of $52K to hire another teacher to reduce class size.
2000 - St. Petersburg High School, Pinellas County
Basically spent it all on teacher's bonuses. They had the option of leaving it at the school to use for their classroom. Don't know exactly how many took it versus left it in the school but the sense was that most would take it as a bonus (submitted by Van C. Sayler, St. Pete High)
2001 - Sugarloaf School, Monroe County (Elementary & Middle)
"The School Advisory Council voted 8-3 to accept a proposal developed by a committee of teachers and SAC members to allocate 74% to teachers, administrators, and staff bonuses and 24% to playground improvements and our Accelerated Math Initiative. The average bonus for an elementary teacher and administrators was $800 and the average for a middle school teacher was $250.00 (this differentiation was because the elementary school earned the “A”; a similar process was followed last year when the middle school earned the “A”). All other members of the staff were also recognized with small bonuses under $200.00. Sugarloaf School apportioned its A+ money in a comparable way to the other schools that were awarded money in the school district. These are: HOB Middle School, Poinciana Elementary School, Plantation Key Elementary and Middle School and Glynn Archer Elementary School."   (This was taken from their web site as a direct quote from the principal)
Gateway High School, Osceola Co.
We gave all the teachers a bonus and gave the band $5000. Updated computer labs.
~ Sandee at Gateway High School, SAC - Osceola Co

 


Copyright © 1999 - 2014 All Rights Reserved
Site design by Theresa McCormick,  Web Designer & Owner

Please Request Permission for reproducing material on this site. 
Permission is normally granted provided content is attributed to Theresa McCormick
and an active link or URL is provided to site content http://florida-family.net