County schools awarded $1.6 million for performance

Buchholz High School, shown here on Aug.16, 2012, received the largest recognition award among Alachua County schools.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.

Alachua County Public Schools will get about $1.6 million as part of Florida's School Recognition Program.

The program provides financial rewards annually to schools based on sustained or significant improvement in student achievement in reading, math, science and writing.

According to a news release by the Florida Department of Education, schools receiving an “A” grade, improving at least one letter grade from the previous year or improving more than one letter grade and sustaining the improvement the following year were all eligible for recognition awards.

The 23 schools in Alachua County — 20 traditional public schools and three charters — and their respective advisory councils are responsible for jointly deciding how to spend the money. The schools could award faculty or staff bonuses or buy educational equipment or materials.

Each school's award is based on the number of full-time equivalent students at a school, with the state funding $93 per student this year.

Jackie Johnson, spokeswoman for Alachua County Public Schools, said should the councils and schools not agree on how best to spend the awards, the money goes toward bonuses, by default.

“Typically in Alachua County, it does go for bonuses spread out across all employees at the schools,” she said.

Jen Homard, principal at Rawlings Elementary, said her school's staff and advisory council agreed to use the awards on bonuses for all returning school employees.

“It's very rewarding and worthwhile that we've been recognized for the teachers, students and support staff,” she said. “We're pretty excited.”

Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or

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