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PRESS RELEASE

October 17, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Florida State Board of Education Approves First STAR Plan
Hillsborough County Public Schools' performance pay plan unanimously approved

TAMPA — The Florida State Board of Education today approved Florida's first Special Teachers Are Rewarded (STAR) performance pay plan submitted by Hillsborough County Public Schools. The STAR program, a $147.5 million appropriation by the 2006 Florida Legislature, recognizes and rewards educator and school personnel for outstanding performance.

"Hillsborough County is leading the state by submitting the first STAR proposal," said State Board of Education Chairman F. Philip Handy. "At the core of rewarding high-performing teachers and school personnel is improving student academic gains. Hillsborough's plan will ensure people are fairly and equitably rewarded."

The STAR Plan proposal was written into proviso language by the Florida Legislature this spring. A school district may submit a performance pay plan by either revising its existing performance pay plan, or creating a new one. Each plan must include an evaluation component focused on the improvement of student learning (at least half of the total evaluation). Once submitted, the Florida Department of Education reviews the plan, and if approved by the State Board, school districts will be granted funding to award the top 25 percent of instructional personnel in the district a minimum reward of five percent of their annual salary. School districts are not required by law to participate in STAR, although they are required to have performance pay plans in place, so the $147.5 million allocation will be divided among those districts that have approved plans.

"The STAR appropriation enables school districts to reward high performance above and beyond the current salary structure," said Education Commissioner John L. Winn. "If we can move past the one-size-fits-all teacher salary schedule to a more dynamic system of compensation, our students and teachers will be the beneficiaries. We will go a long way to attracting and keeping top teachers."

This summer, the Florida Department of Education began providing technical assistance for all school districts to assist them in developing their plans. Currently, the Department of Education is working with a number of districts on their draft plans. Hillsborough County Public Schools revised their existing performance evaluation plan to meet the STAR requirements. The plan met all of the requirements and was unanimously approved by the State Board of Education.

"The STAR plan provides us with the opportunity to reward hard working, successful educators for what they do every day to help their students achieve," Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said.

To participate, school districts must submit their STAR proposals to the State Board of Education by December 31, 2006. The State Board of Education may review the proposals for 45 days and submit recommendations to the district. All revised proposals are due March 1, 2007, and will be finalized by the board on March 19, 2007. The amount of funding to be awarded to each district will be announced on April 1, 2007.

To review the Hillsborough County Public Schools STAR Plan visit www.fldoe.org/meetings/2006_10_17/agenda.asp .