Governor Rick Scott today acknowledged Hillsborough County’s public schools that have sustained high student performance or demonstrated substantial improvement in student performance by presenting a check totaling nearly $8.8 million in School Recognition Program funding to representatives from Hillsborough County schools. Schools can use their award dollars for faculty or staff bonuses, to purchase educational equipment or materials, or hire temporary staff to help maintain or improve student performance. Statewide, school recognition funding totals more than $134 million.
Governor Scott said, “Florida students and teachers were ranked 6th for educational quality, our fourth-grade students scored among the best in the world in an international reading survey, and we recently learned Florida students are number one for percentage of students taking an AP exam. What we are doing at the state and local levels to enhance the quality of our education system is working. In conjunction with our proposed $1.2 billion in educational funding as part of the Florida Families First Budget, the school recognition funding will allow our teachers and students here in Hillsborough County and across the state to continue on their path of success.”
Phil Jones, President, Hillsborough Education Foundation said, “The infusion of more than $8.8 million dollars from the School Recognition Program to reward Hillsborough County teachers and schools is a great boost for our school system and local economy.
Hillsborough County Education Foundation supports Governor Rick Scott’s Florida Families First Budget proposal to increase funding for this most worthwhile program and we look forward to working with education stakeholders statewide to make the proposal a reality.”
Florida’s School Recognition Program acknowledges the quality of public schools by giving financial rewards based on sustained or significantly improved student achievement in reading, mathematics, science, and writing. Schools eligible for recognition awards include those receiving an “A” school grade, improving at least one letter grade from the previous year, or improving more than one letter grade and sustaining the improvement the following school year. Alternative schools that increase their school improvement rating or are rated “improving” also qualify for awards. The school staff and school advisory council at each recognized school jointly decide how to use the financial award, according to Lane Wright, spokesperson for the Office of Gov. Rick Scott.
“Governor Scott understands rewarding schools for performance promotes even higher achievement,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. “His Florida Families First Budget calls for an even larger commitment to the School Recognition Program.”
As part of his Florida Families First Budget, Governor Scott requested an increase in School Recognition Program funding to $125 per student, up from $93 this year. State funding for K-12 education in the Florida Families First Budget totals $10.7 billion – the highest state funding level in history. Included in this historic total is $480 million to support $2,500 pay raises for Florida’s K-12 classroom teachers, plus the cost of associated benefits.
Total funding for K-12 education in the Florida Families First budget is $18.47 billion, an increase of $1.25 billion, or 7.3 percent, over last year’s budget, which also invested $1 billion in K-12 education. This increase represents per student funding of $6,799, an increase of more than $400 over the current fiscal year.
“School recognition funds reward teachers and staff for a job well done and we’re pleased to see so many of our schools being recognized,” said Superintendent Elia. “We have more A-rated high schools than in any previous year of school grading, with nearly 50 percent of high schools receiving an ‘A’ grade. More than 59 percent of elementary and middle schools earned an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade. I applaud Governor Scott’s proposal for increased funding for schools and for the School Recognition Program in his Florida Families First Budget. Hillsborough County teachers continue to raise the bar for our students and deserve to be rewarded.”
“Governor Scott has the right idea to reward our teachers and staff for their commitment to excellence and noted improvement in our students’ academic achievement,” said Hillsborough School Board Chair April Griffin. “The School Recognition Program has continually provided Hillsborough’s highest-performing teachers and staff with a well-deserved reward.”
“Plant High School is honored to host Governor Scott and applauds his efforts to recognize Hillsborough County teachers and staff for their commitment to student achievement,” said Plant High School Principal Rob Nelson. “The School Recognition Program goes a long way toward rewarding our high-performing teachers and staff. It will be shared among all our teachers and staff because they all contribute to our students’ success.”