Schools' success rewarded with cash - FOX 13 News

Schools' success rewarded with cash

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Teachers are constantly pushing their students for excellence. Now they will be rewarded for their hard work.

Gov. Rick Scott has been touring the state, giving our large checks to local districts. It's state recognition money, awarded to schools that got an "A" or that showed substantial improvement in student performance.

Scott was at Plant High School in Tampa on Friday, congratulating many area principals.

"People love you when you bring money," Governor Scott joked.

He then signed a very large, photo-op check as the principals cheered. The dollar amount read $8,793,936.00

Just over 100 schools in Hillsborough will share in that pot of money. The amount differs for each school, depending on their size. Each school gets $93 a student.

Mary Ellen Elia explained, "You could have a school that receives over $100,000, if it's a large school it could receive a lot of money. and you have a smaller school receive less money. And both schools may have received the same grade."

Each school gets to decide how to spend the money. Most schools do it democratically taking a vote from every staff member.

At Just Elementary, they voted to give themselves a bonus.

"My staff voted for custodians, lunchroom workers. Our bus drivers, teachers, and paraprofessionals will share in the wealth," said Principal Carolyn Hill.

And it's a nice boost to their paycheck.

"It's going to be around $600 for teachers and $300 for paraprofessionals and support staff."

Just Elementary is a Title 1 school, meaning most of their students are from low income families. Those schools have more challenges and often struggle to make significant gains.

It's the second year in a row they've received the recognition money.

"It's huge, I think one of things is, it makes teachers feel they are effective, and that's what they want to be."

The teachers will get the money in a few weeks.

"It means they can do some things, they wouldn't be able to do. I had one teacher tell me, I'm going to get ahead on some bills," said Hill.

But some wonder about those schools that did not receive the money. Teachers there say they work just as hard.

Governor Scott addressed that. "I think the way to look at is, the right thing to do is reward people for success. Everyone likes to get better and so if you reward success, we are going to get more success."

To see a full list of the schools in Hillsborough County that are receiving money, go to: http://www.fldoe.org/news/2013/2013_03_08.asp

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