Here is the long as short as I can give it. Florida gives schools with high grades and that improve on the state tests extra money. The money was released to the district in October and the district told me they will release the money to teachers sometime between Groundhog’s day and May. I asked them if they could do better in a letter I sent to most of the board, you can probably guess which ones I left out, and the superintendent.
I am writing to you about school recognition funds, that money given to schools that receive good grades or show great improvement.
This was actually a non-issue to me as my school is ineligible for the funds but after a few teachers reached out to me, I said I would look into it.
I discovered that the funds had been released to the district in October and then I asked the district’s communication department when the money would be distributed to teachers.
This was their response.
Thank you for your patience! Per Florida Statute 1008.36, schools have until Feb. 1 to submit their plan for distribution of funds. Distribution of funds will occur after this statutory deadline. Please note that over the past three years, funds have been distributed in March, April or May. I’ve included a link to the statute for your reference:http://www.flsenate.
Hope this helps!
Basically Mrs. Ricks said anytime between Groundhogs Day (2/2) and May. Now I am not being critical of Mrs. Ricks, on the contrary I believe she and the communication office do a great job. It can’t always be easy to answer my questions knowing I have often been critical, but they are always professional and generally prompt. They are without a doubt a credit to the district.
That being said, I hope you can imagine this response is very frustrating to a great number of teachers, and many of those I spoke with said they thought this was a scam to collect interests and were very disappointed upon hearing it. I however had a different notion, and that is to the previous administration, teachers were not a priority, so they felt they would just get to it when they got to it and if that took till May so be it. Paying teachers for their hard work and the money they had earned was not important to them.
I also believe this current administration is different. I believe you care about the staff so that’s why I have reached out to you and would urge you to distribute the funds as soon as possible and announce to the staff when the money was going to be released so they could have some certainty and make plans. I think we all believe that teachers, who work so hard and who sacrifice so much, deserve it
I would also like to suggest, that you require every school this school year to create their plan for next year, so if they receive the funds they can get it when it is released as soon as possible.
I can’t tell you how much good will this would create with the staff, but I believe it would create a lot. Likewise letting the public know you have released the funds ahead of previous years couldn’t hurt.
Thank You for your time, keep up the good work.
Okay I have done what I can do and now it is time for the district to decide what kind they want to be, one that appreciates and supports its teachers and one that holds onto their money and leaves them hanging.