Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday nearly 1,700 Florida schools will share $134.6 million in additional funds based on their improved performances.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, counties listed in the Gainesville area – Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties – are splitting $2,139,922 of the School Recognition Program funding.
The program started in 1997 and provides funding to schools that with high student performance and schools that demonstrate improvement in performance.
A school’s performance is measured by a grading system determined by a number of factors including student scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Schools earned an “A” grade for improving one letter grade from the previous year or sustaining their improvement from the following year are eligible for funding.
Scott announced earlier this year he would send a proposed budget for K-12 education to the Florida legislature for $74 billion – the highest in Florida’s history and an increase of 7.3 percent from last year’s budget. Additionally, he is pushing for a $2,500 pay raise for teachers.
Mark Rains, superintendent of the Dixie County School District, said two of the four schools in his county will benefit from these funds.
Rains said how the extra funds are used is determined by the individual schools’ advisory councils and the schools themselves, but that it would most likely go to staff bonuses.
Although the state is currently rewarding the schools that are doing well, Rains said he’d like to see funding for underperforming schools as well as successful ones.
Jackie Johnson, spokeswoman for Alachua County Public Schools, also said the funds to schools in her county are generally divided as bonuses for teachers and staff.
Johnson noted the grading system for schools is dramatically changing this year, and that may make it harder for schools to increase their grade level and benefit from School Recognition Program next year.