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Press Release

Friday, March 22, 2013

media@eog.myflorida.com
850-717-9282

Governor Scott Presents $751,000 in School Recognition Funds to Escambia County Schools

- High student performance pays off for district's top schools -

Pensacola, Fla. Governor Rick Scott today acknowledged Escambia County's public schools that have sustained high student performance or demonstrated substantial improvement in student performance by presenting a check totaling more than $751,000 in School Recognition Program funding to representatives from the Escambia County School district. The check presentation took place before an audience of educators and community leaders at Brown-Barge Middle School in Pensacola. Schools can use their award dollars for faculty or staff bonuses, to purchase educational equipment or materials, or hire temporary staff to help maintain or improve student performance. Statewide, school recognition funding totals more than $134 million.

Governor Scott said, "Florida students and teachers were ranked 6th for educational quality, our fourth-grade students scored among the best in the world in an international reading survey, and we recently learned Florida students are number one for percentage of students taking an AP exam. Our teachers have done a great job and that is why I have proposed to provide all fulltime classroom teachers a $2,500 pay raise.

"Our efforts at the state and local level to enhance the quality of our education system is working. In conjunction with our proposed $1.2 billion increase in educational funding as part of the Florida Families First Budget, the school recognition funding will allow our teachers and students in Escambia County and across the state to continue on their path of success."

"What we are doing at the state and local levels to enhance the quality of our education system is working. In conjunction with our proposed $1.2 billion increase in educational funding as part of the Florida Families First Budget, the school recognition funding will allow our teachers and students in Escambia County and across the state to continue on their path of success."

Florida's School Recognition Program acknowledges the quality of public schools by giving financial rewards based on sustained or significantly improved student achievement in reading, mathematics, science, and writing. Schools eligible for recognition awards include those receiving an 'A' school grade, improving at least one letter grade from the previous year, or improving more than one letter grade and sustaining the improvement the following school year. Alternative schools that increase their school improvement rating, or are rated "improving," also qualify for awards. The school staff and school advisory council at each recognized school jointly decide how to use the financial award.

"Governor Scott understands rewarding schools for performance promotes even higher achievement," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "His Florida Families First Budget calls for an even larger commitment to the School Recognition Program."

As part of his Florida Families First Budget, Governor Scott requested an increase in School Recognition Program funding to $125 per student, up from $93 this year. State funding for K-12 education in the Florida Families First Budget totals $10.7 billion - the highest state funding level in history. Included in this historic total is $480 million to support $2,500 pay raises for Florida's K-12 classroom teachers, plus the cost of associated benefits.

Total funding for K-12 education in the Florida Families First budget is $18.47 billion, an increase of $1.25 billion, or 7.3 percent, over last year's budget, which also invested $1 billion in K-12 education. This increase represents per student funding of $6,799, an increase of more than $400 over the current fiscal year.

Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas said, "As a lifelong educator, I understand the passion and commitment our teachers bring to the classroom each and every day so that our students are reaching higher levels of achievement. The School Recognition Program is a great incentive to reward Escambia's high-performing teachers. I applaud Governor Rick Scott's proposal to increase funding for this important program in his Florida's Families First Budget."

"We are grateful that Governor Rick Scott made a special visit to Escambia County to congratulate our teachers and staff for a job well done," said Escambia County School Board Chairman Jeff Bergosh. "The $751,488 in School Recognition Program funds will go a long way in rewarding our best and brightest here in Escambia County. We support Governor Scott's proposal to increase funding for this program and will work with local and statewide education stakeholders to support his Florida's Families First Budget."

"Rewarding Florida's teachers for their tireless commitment and dedication to prepare our students for the 21st century workforce is a sound investment," said Peter Neuhaus, research scientist with the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola. "I support Governor Scott's proposal to increase funding for the School Recognition Program and his pledge to reward our high-performing teachers."

The School Recognition Program distribution for Escambia County schools is below.

Escambia School District Total $751,448
A.K. Suter Elementary School 34,291
Blue Angels Elementary School 82,537
Brown-Barge Middle School 56,971
Byrneville Elementary School, Inc. 14,656
Cordova Park Elementary School 66,563
Hellen Caro Elementary School 87,976
Jackie Harris Preparatory Academy 17,538
N. B. Cook Elementary School 58,631
Newpoint Pensacola 7,603
O.J. Semmes Elementary School 31,316
Pensacola Beach Charter School 12,636
Pine Meadow Elementary School 79,917
R.C. Lipscomb Elementary School 84,242
West Florida High School of Advanced Technology 116,571