Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Help Bring in $1.9 Million; Good FCAT Scores Help Clay Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Help Bring in $1.9 Million; Good FCAT Scores Help Clay Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Twenty-two Clay County public schools will get a total of $1.9 million in state reward funds for their students' achievements on the 2003 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which determines school grades.

The money was sent to the school district Thursday for distribution to individual school accounts, said Jim Horne, state commissioner of education.

Horne, whose children attend Clay schools, said in a news release that he sent his "warmest congratulations" to Florida schools that received cash awards in the 2003 Florida School Recognition Program.

"This program recognizes schools that have received an 'A' or improved at least one letter grade from the previous school year," he said. "I commend the schools . . . for their extraordinary efforts in setting high standards, providing rigorous content and supporting students in their endeavor to achieve academic success."

Schools that receive recognition awards for their 2003 grades get $100 per student, based on 2002-03 enrollment. Each district's total award was electronically transferred from the state Thursday, Horne said.

State law allows school recognition funds to be used for nonrecurring bonuses for school faculty and staff, nonrecurring expenditures for educational equipment or materials, temporary personnel to help maintain or improve student performance, or a combination of those uses, according to the state Department of Education.

Clay principals said the decision on how to spend the money is usually made jointly by faculty and school advisory committees. If the decision is not made at individual schools by Nov. 1, the funds are to be evenly distributed to teachers.

Susan Sailor, principal of Keystone Heights Junior-Senior High, which earned an A grade and is getting more than $123,000, said the state reward money is particularly helpful in tight budget times.

"It is very important in allowing us to pay for some of those mundane obligations that cost money nonetheless," she said, citing copying machines and equipment leases as examples. …

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