FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the Florida School Recognition Program?
~ ~ The Florida School Recognition Program provides public recognition and financial awards to schools that have sustained high student performance or schools that demonstrate substantial improvement in student performance. The program was created by the Florida Legislature in 1997 and funds were first appropriated for awards in 1998. The A+ Plan for Education standardized program criteria and awards in 1999.
2. Which schools are eligible for recognition under this program?
~ ~ Schools receiving an A performance grade or schools improving at least one performance grade category from the previous year are eligible for recognition and financial awards.
3. What is the award amount for each school?
~ ~ Each recognized school will receive $100 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student based on last year’s enrollment.
4. What statute authorizes the Florida School Recognition Program?
~ ~ Section 1008.36, F.S., in the new school code, authorizes the Florida School Recognition program.
5. What was the total amount awarded to schools for the School Recognition Program in 2007?
~ ~ In 2007, the total amount awarded to schools for the School Recognition Program was $129,385,669.
6. Do schools have to apply to receive the award?
~ ~ No. Eligibility for an award is based solely on meeting the program criteria.
7. What information will schools and districts report for this program?
~ ~ The Department of Education will ask award schools to provide information on successful programs and practices to share with other schools. In addition, school districts will report on how financial awards were used by each recognized school.
8. Must schools receive a performance grade to be eligible for school recognition?
~ ~ Yes. Section 1008.36(3), F.S., specifies that the School Recognition Program use school performance grade categories. In addition, SBE Rule 6A-1.09981(9) requires the use of school performance grades for this program.
9. How many schools are eligible for the 2007 Florida School Recognition Program?
~ ~ The 2007 Florida School Recognition Program will recognize and provide financial awards to 1,613 schools.
10. When will school recognition award funds be distributed?
~ ~ These funds will be electronically transferred to school districts in early September.
11. How will schools receive their funds?
~ ~ School districts will place these funds in a school account at the district level and the funds will be immediately available when the school’s staff and school advisory council decide how to use the award money. These funds are not to be placed in a school’s internal accounts.
12. How will the district office know which schools earned the award and how much money should be placed in each school’s account?
~ ~ The Department of Education will place a list of recognized schools with award amounts by district on the Florida School Recognition Program website. The DOE Home Page includes a drop down menu with a link to this site. In addition, the principal at each recognized school will receive a congratulatory letter specifying the amount of the school’s award.
13. Who decides how the award will be used?
The legislation gives the award school’s staff and school advisory council (SAC) the authority to make this decision. If a charter school does not have a SAC, the governing body of the school should participate in the council’s stead, along with the staff of the school, in determining the use of funds.
14. What process should the school’s staff and SAC use to make this decision?
The legislation does not specify a decision making process. Therefore, guidelines for determining how the decision is made by the school’s staff and SAC and for resolving any conflicts in reaching the decision may be developed at the local level. Determining a step-by-step process ahead of time may help expedite making this decision.
15. How may the funds from this program be used?
Funds are to be used for nonrecurring bonuses to the faculty and staff, nonrecurring expenditures for educational equipment or materials, or for temporary personnel to assist the school in maintaining or improving student performance (Section 1008.36(5), F.S.). The school’s staff and SAC must decide to spend these funds on one or any combination of these three purposes. If the school’s staff and SAC decide to give bonuses, they determine who is to receive them and how much each person will receive. The decision on the use of funds must not conflict with any district or state policies on expenditure of funds.
16. Is there a deadline for the decision on the use of these funds?
Yes. Section 1008.36(4), F.S., states that if the school’s 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.
17. May faculty and staff who left at the end of the school year in 2006-2007 receive a bonus?
Yes. They were employed at the school when the school earned this award. Therefore, the school’s staff and SAC may give them bonuses if the decision is made before November 1st.
18. May faculty or staff who are new to the school in 2007-2008 receive a bonus?
Yes. The school’s staff and SAC may decide to give them bonuses.
19. Are these funds subject to collective bargaining?
According to Section 1008.36(5), F.S., “Notwithstanding statutory provision to the contrary, incentive awards are not subject to collective bargaining.”
(see copy of statute below)