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PRESS RELEASE

October 7, 2002

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130
bill.edmonds@fldoe.org

Florida wins more than $10 million in grants to recruit teachers

TALLAHASSEE — Secretary of Education Jim Horne announced today that Florida's state and local governments have been awarded more than $10 million in federal grants, with roughly $2.4 million going to the state Department of Education, to provide incentives to recruit new teachers under the Transition to Teaching Grant Award program.

"We are pleased that we are able to further our efforts to bring more qualified teachers into our classrooms with the awarding of these grants," said Horne. "These incentives advance the No. 1 strategic goal of the Florida Board of Education — to recruit and train the people who will mold the future of our state."

Secretary Horne noted that Florida's grant total was the fourth largest in the country.

The purpose of the grants, which will be awarded over five years, is to assist with teacher quality efforts by funding incentives for new teacher recruits. Recruits will come from pools of mid-career professionals and recent college graduates who will commit to entering the teaching profession and teach core content subjects in high-needs areas.

Funds will also be used to cover the costs of experienced teacher mentors who will use their subject area expertise to guide newly recruited teachers as they transition into the classroom.

While incentive programs may differ, the state DOE grant includes incentive packages under which new teachers will receive a $3,500 bonus if they agree to teach in a high-needs area for three years. An additional $1,500 can be earned if they choose to teach another two years beyond the original three-year commitment. Stipends will also be available for teacher mentors who agree to work with up to two recruits for a three-year period.

Criteria for determining a high-needs district include:

  • The percentage of children living in poverty.

  • The percentage of faculty assigned out of field in 2001-02.

  • The percentage of D or F schools in the last four years.

For Fiscal Year 2002, the grant will provide $34.7 million nationwide to state and local governments. Florida will receive more than $2.1 million of that amount.

Along with $489,012 being provided to Florida's Department of Education this year, five local entities in Florida have also earned funds for recruitment, training and mentoring efforts:

  • Duval County Schools will receive $300,000 per year.

  • Heartland Educational Consortium will receive $355,152 per year.

  • Orange County Schools will receive $350,000 per year.

  • Palm Beach Community College will receive $375,123 per year.

  • The University of South Florida will receive $325,000 per year.

All told, Florida stands to see more than $10 million over the next five years for teacher recruitment efforts.