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PRESS RELEASE

April 22, 2005

Melanie Mowry Etters
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Honored With Davis Productivity Awards

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced that the Florida Department of Education (DOE) has been honored with 21 Davis Productivity Awards, including one for its Hurricane Response Team. Davis Productivity Awards, supported by Florida TaxWatch, recognize and reward state government employees whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation.

"I am very proud of our employees' tireless efforts to improve services to Florida's citizens," said Commissioner Winn. "I applaud their commitment to customer service and efficiency."

For the first time, the Department of Education will receive an agency-wide award for its extraordinary efforts during the 2004 hurricane season. The DOE's Hurricane Response Team was created and activated in response to the first of four hurricanes impacting Florida. The first-ever communication response system coordinated emergency information for Florida's 67 school districts, 28 community colleges, 11 state universities, and over 1,500 charter and private schools, affecting over 3 million students and their families and almost 300,000 teachers and employees. The response system provided around-the-clock, up-to-date emergency information for school district superintendents and community college and university presidents by creating and maintaining a web site with updated information on school closings, hurricane shelters, weather status, and local recovery efforts. The Team's 131 employees logged 258 overtime hours staffing the DOE Emergency Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week; 144 hours monitoring the information hotline and incoming e-mail; and 245 hours compiling information. In addition, 16 DOE employees worked 425 hours at the State Emergency Operations Center to support local education needs such as procuring emergency fuel and assisting in relief efforts.

Since 1989, the Davis Productivity Awards program has publicly recognized and rewarded state employees and work units for making measurable improvements in the way they perform their duties and deliver services to Florida citizens. The Department's 21 awards show an increase of 40 percent over last year's awards when DOE staff and teams earned 15 Davis Productivity Awards. Award areas within the Department include: 10 awards to Finance and Operations; 6 awards to the School Choice Office; 4 awards to K-12 Public Education; and 1 DOE-wide award for hurricane relief.

A complete list of Department of Education 2005 Davis Productivity Award winners is below.

Education Practices Commission Case Management System, Barry Hall recipient Distinguished Cash Award ($1,000)
Operational Change Management Development Team Notable Cash Award ($500)
Maintenance Contract Management Task Force Notable Cash Award ($500)
Choice Office Public Information/Records Process Team Notable Cash Award ($500)
Charter School Annual Accountability Report Team Commemorative Plaque
Records Management System for Private Scholarship Schools, Frances Henry recipient Commemorative Plaque
Information Technology and Scholarship Communications Team Commemorative Plaque
Miami Transition Unit Production Team Commemorative Plaque
Private School Compliance Team Commemorative Plaque
School Transportation Bus Accident Reporting Team Commemorative Plaque
Unit 13a Vocational Rehabilitation Team Commemorative Plaque
Administrative Wage Garnishment Team Certificate of Commendation
Contracts and Grants Team Certificate of Commendation
Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test Writing+ Team Certificate of Commendation
McKay Scholarship Parental Notification Team Certificate of Commendation
SAS Data Project Team Certificate of Commendation
Safe Schools Appropriation Automated Survey Team Certificate of Commendation
Vocational Rehabilitation Website Team Certificate of Commendation
Coordination of Florida's National Assessment of Educational Progress Program, Michele Sonnenfeld recipient Honorable Mention

The following awards were given in the Hurricane Relief Category:

Vocational Rehabilitation/Department of Education Area 3 Commemorative Plaque

Florida Department of Education Hurricane Response Team Commemorative Plaque


Florida TaxWatch also recognized four state universities for 50 additional 2005 Davis Productivity Awards. Banquet ceremonies will begin with a kick-off ceremony in Tallahassee on June 1, 2005. For more information, go to "Davis Productivity Awards" at: www.floridataxwatch.org.