Bay County's "A" Schools Await FCAT Bonuses

By: Alexandra Hill Email
By: Alexandra Hill Email

Bay County, FL - At Southport Elementary there is definitely reason to celebrate.

The school earned an "A" grade for the ninth year in a row, one of eleven Bay County elementary and middle schools to do so.

“A” schools will soon be receiving money from the Florida School Recognition Program.

"It makes me feel proud and I’m happy for all the hard work that went on here to earn that money,” said Dianne Miller, Principal of Southport Elementary.

Southport Elementary will be receiving 31,469 dollars.

Each "A" school gets 75 dollars per student.

However, the interesting part isn't how much money they are getting, but how the schools are choosing to spend it.

Most schools give the majority of the money to the faculty and staff.

"Normally 80 to 85 percent of it goes back in the form of bonuses to the teachers and instructional staff,” said Gena Burgans, Director of Instruction for Bay District Schools.

In fact, that's one of the state's top recommendations for spending the money; but schools do have other options.

"I had one school that actually called in and was interested in buying laptop computers, or interested in buying a software program, that their school budget would not allow them to purchase this year,” Burgans said.

Each school elects a steering committee to determine ballot items which are then voted on by faculty and staff.

Southport elementary chose the bulk of this year's money to go toward bonuses.

“Everybody contributes to making us an “A” school, so we have decided to do bonuses and then the money that’s left after will go toward school supplies,” Miller said.

Miller listed printer ink as one of the school’s top spending priorities after faculty and staff bonuses.

But before anything happens, the money has to come in from the state. The district is still waiting to hear when that will be.

Each "A" school must submit their distribution plan to the district by Friday. They will be placed on the next school board agenda as informational items.

Bay District School recipients include:

Southport Elementary receiving 31,469 dollars.
Merriam Cherry Street Elementary receiving 33,554 dollars.
Bay Haven Charter Middle receiving 33,750 dollars.
Springfield Elementary receiving 37,481 dollars.
Bay Haven Charter Academy receiving 46,316 dollars.
Patronis Elementary receiving 51,338 dollars.
Breakfast Point Academy receiving 60,010 dollars.
Lynn Haven Elementary receiving 60,199 dollars.
Merritt Brown Middle receiving 61,753 dollars.
Surfside Middle receiving 77,187 dollars.
Mowat Middle receiving 77,588 dollars.

Regionwide District Totals:

Bay County is receiving 570,645 dollars.
Calhoun County is receiving 38,978 dollars.
Franklin County is receiving 24,041 dollars.
Gulf County is receiving 35,847 dollars.
Holmes County is receiving 24,791 dollars.
Jackson County is receiving 198,680 dollars.
Liberty County is receiving 22,881dollars.
Okaloosa County is receiving 1,108,501 dollars.
Walton County is receiving 250,802 dollars.
Washington County is receiving 104,630 dollars.

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