School Letter Grades May Impact Teacher Bonuses

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

When state education officials released school grades last week, fewer Bay County schools earned "A's".

Last year more than a dozen schools received about three-quarters of a million dollars in bonus money for improving at least one letter grade.

The new scores will most likely mean less money for teachers.

School district administrators are trying to find out why school grades declined this year.

"The writing is what really hurt us more than anything else, the writing increased from a 3.0 to 3.5 as the cut score really hurt all of our schools," said Bay District Schools Superintendent, Bill Husfelt.

As a result, nine elementary and middle schools earned A's and only two schools improved at least one letter grade.

District officials say the declining grades weren't entirely unexpected.

"I wasn't surprised. I knew when the writing scores came out that was going to drastically impact our school grades in a negative way," said Camilla Hudson, District Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability.

The letter grades also determine the amount of bonus money teachers receive.

The state rewards schools receiving an "a" grade, or those that improve at least one letter grade.

In 2012, 16 bay county schools received a total of about three-quarters of a million dollars, or about 90-dollars per student, but this year's grades may mean less teacher bonuses.

"Across the state, yes. It's imperative that you remember this isn't just a bay district impact, this is state wide. All 67 counties felt this," said Superintendent Husfelt.

It's not known how many schools will receive bonuses or school recognition funds until the state releases the high school grades later this fall.

Husfelt and other educators across the state believe the school grades dropped due to more than 30 changes in Florida's standardized testing program.


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