CONTACT PERSON NAME: Nancy Rivers PHONE: (850) 410-1460 July 16, 2001 SUNCOM: 210-1460 DPBM: 02-07 MEMORANDUM TO: District School Superintendents FROM: Wayne V. Pierson SUBJECT: Teacher Recruitment and Retention - Questions and Answers The 2001 Legislature appropriated $152,000,000 for the 2001-02 Teacher Recruitment and Retention. The proviso language stipulates that funds are to be used to provide a retention bonus of $850 to all instructional personnel as defined in paragraphs 228.041(9)(a)-(d), F.S., who: (1) Are employed by a school district in a full-time capacity for the 2001-02 school year and were employed by a Florida school district in a full-time capacity for the 2000-01 school year, (2) Hold a valid Florida Educator’s Certificate, and (3) Received a performance evaluation of satisfactory or higher in 2000-01. This proviso language is less restrictive than last year as a result of legislators’ intent to increase funding that went directly to all instructional personnel as opposed to only certain teachers. The employer’s cost of payroll taxes can be charged against these funds, and the retention bonus must be paid by October 15, 2001. Once all retention bonuses have been paid, flexibility is provided for use of the balance of funds based on the needs of individual districts. Districts may award a “signing” bonus in an amount of $850 to teachers new to Florida as well as those individuals from Florida entering the teaching profession. Districts may elect to provide other bonuses such as bonuses to teachers in “D” and “F” schools. The proviso language can be accessed on the following web site: "http://www.leg.state.fl.us/data/session/2001/senate/appbills/pdf/ enroll.pdf. Please refer to Line Item #119, Page 28. I encourage you to review the proviso language for further clarification. Attached for your information is a series of questions and answers generated from various school district staff. WVP:lrp Attachment QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 2001-02 TEACHER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION BONUS PROGRAM 1. Are Pre-K teachers eligible for the retention and recruitment bonus? Only if they are Pre-K teachers of ESE students. This program is funded as a Grade K-12 appropriation and, as such, does not include programs for Pre-K or adult students. Only a Pre-K teacher with ESE students would be eligible for a bonus pursuant to paragraph 228.041 (9)(a), F.S. 2. Can districts carry forward unspent dollars from the 2000-01 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Bonus allocation and use the funds under provisions of the 2001-02 appropriation? Yes. Historically, categorical dollars have been approved for carry-over into subsequent years for the same scope and purposes. 3. Can districts give retention and signing bonuses in amounts greater than $850? No. The retention and signing bonuses must be awarded in the amount specified by proviso. Districts may, however, design additional bonus programs to address local needs without restriction on the amount of such bonuses. These locally-defined bonuses would be paid from funds not spent for the $850 retention bonus. 4. Can these funds be used to increase teacher salaries? No. These funds must be used to provide incentive payments to teachers and, unlike teacher salaries, are not subject to provisions of Chapter 447, Florida Statutes. 5. Do charter school teachers receive the bonus? Charter schools are entitled to their proportionate share of these funds pursuant to paragraph 228.056(13)(b). 6. Does a teacher who returns to work in the fall, but goes on unpaid medical leave prior to October 15, 2001, qualify for the bonus? No. Proviso requires that the teacher be employed in a full- time capacity during the 2001-02 school year. 7. Does a teacher returning from a leave of absence (no evaluation in 2000-01) qualify for a bonus? This teacher would not be eligible for the retention bonus pursuant to proviso, which requires that the teacher be employed in a full-time capacity during the 2000-01 school year. He/she may, however, be eligible to receive a bonus under locally-defined incentive programs, depending on eligibility criteria developed by the district.
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