Some Hillsborough schools share $9 million performance rewards from state; Title I schools only get a quarter of it

03/08/13 Janelle Irwin
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Some Hillsborough County Schools are splitting almost $9 million in rewards from the state for high performance. But even though more than half of the district's schools have a large number of students in poverty, only about a quarter of the funds are going to those Title I schools.

“Today’s a great day to give away money because of success.”

Governor Rick Scott announced the appropriation at Plant High School in South Tampa this morning. Schools that received recognition funds from the state were either consistent A-graded schools or ones which had demonstrated a marked improvement.

“What we want to do as a state is we want to invest where we know we’re getting a return.”

Less than 19% of Title I schools in Hillsborough earned the recognition funds, while 63% of non-Title I schools are getting the extra money. For example Plant High, which isn’t a Title I school, is getting $140,000 while Title I Blake High School in West Tampa isn’t getting any of the funds. But Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said Title I schools have access to other funding opportunities.

“We have a number of programs, particularly those programs that have a higher poverty level that they receive funding that other schools do not receive. So, Title I federal monies come in, those are only available for schools that are at the poverty level of a certain point. So, you have categories of funding that comes to certain schools given the program that they’re targeting. We also have additional staff and funding that goes into some of our schools that are funding more to give them extra support and to give them extra teacher units and help to become more successful and to have their students become more successful.”

But even with federal funding, low income schools struggle with things like parental involvement, children who haven’t had access to early childhood education and whose families can’t afford summer learning programs. But Governor Scott argues that incentivizing school principals to earn higher achievement levels will lead to better performance in struggling schools.

“We have great principals; we have great teachers all over this district. They’re working hard to do the great thing. It’s tied to having great principals. You have a superintendent that allocates the dollars that she has the opportunity to make sure every child in this district has a great education, but the state has funds that they do directly to schools through the district to make sure that we reward success.”

And Superintendent Elia said some of the schools receiving state reward funds weren’t always high performers.

“I have plenty of schools that have made growth, but not made enough growth to get into this category. But I think, as the governor pointed out, that is has to do with performance and whether or not there’s been enough growth. So, there’s always someone that doesn’t make it and I think that what we have to think about and what we do think about is, that school, with continued growth of their students can very well be in that category next year.”

The Florida School Recognition Program has awarded high performing schools since 1999. It will pay out more than $130 million to schools across the state this year. Each school gets a different amount based on an up to $100-per-student allocation. Governor Scott was criticized in 2010 after taking office for cutting education funds and signing into law a bill that tied teacher pay to performance.

“We made the hard choices when I came into office – it was not easy – but now we have the opportunity to make smart choices.”

He touts his 2012 budget for putting a billion dollars back into education and is proposing $2500 raises for teachers in this year’s budget. But critics still argue that the money doesn’t make up for previous budget cuts and a law Scott supported that required teachers to contribute 3% of their pay to their pension programs. When asked whether his new found commitment to funding public education was politically motivated, Scott didn’t really answer.

“You know, what I do everyday is I focus on the three things families care about: families want a job. Every family I know, they want to make sure they have a job and I will work on that. That’s why this year in my budget I want to get rid of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment so we have more manufacturing jobs. Second, just like last year, I want to increase funding by over a billion dollars for K-12 because it’s the right thing to do; we need to constantly improve education. And third, I always focus on keeping the cost of living low.”

Scott is also asking that the 2013 budget raise the per-student amount allocated to schools who qualify for the recognition program. If that is accepted by the legislature, schools awarded next year would receive that benefit.


Advantage Academy Middle School: 98,484

Advantage Academy of Hillsborough: 34,194

Alafia Elementary School: 86,804

Alexander Elementary School: 90,946

Alonso High School: 66,027

Apollo Beach Elementary School: 59,151

Ballast Point Elementary School: 82,107

Barrington Middle School: 66,109

Bartels Middle School: 99,562

Bay Crest Elementary School: 200,824

Bellamy Elementary School: 186,670

Benito Middle School: 92,421

Bevis Elementary School: 59,622

Bloomingdale High School: 77,524

Boyette Springs Elementary School: 51,979

Brooker Elementary School: 219,723

Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School: 36,536

Broward Elementary School: 74,031

Bryant Elementary School: 105,072

Buckhorn Elementary School: 53,164

Burns Middle School: 44,101

Cahoon Elementary Magnet School: 52,582

Carrollwood Elementary School: 76,552

Channelside Academy Of Math And Science: 85,744

Chiaramonte Elementary School: 35,641

Chiles Elementary School: 94,667

Cimino Elementary School: 63,116

Clark Elementary School: 125,309

Claywell Elementary School: 33,617

Coleman Middle School: 67,179

Collins Elementary School: 35,264

Cork Elementary School: 69,924

Davidsen Middle School: 73,878

Deer Park Elementary: 77,575

Doby Elementary School: 66,331

Dorothy Thomas Center: 86,904

Durant High School: 60,589

Farnell Middle School: 105,909

Fishhawk Creek Elementary School: 202,165

Gaither High School: 118,306

Gorrie Elementary School: 181,486

Grady Elementary School: 52,997

Hammond Elementary School: 37,524

Heritage Elementary School: 70,295

Jackson Elementary School: 56,681

James Elementary School: 44,220

Just Elementary School: 82,530

Kids Community College: 44,455

Lake Magdalene Elementary School: 35,411

Learning Gate Community School: 71,276

Lewis Elementary School: 56,534

Liberty Middle School: 111,153

Limona Elementary School: 31,257

Lincoln Elementary Magnet School: 87,882

Lithia Springs Elementary School: 57,372

Lomax Magnet Elementary School: 70,227

Lowry Elementary School: 52,713

Lutz Elementary School: 101,297

Mabry Elementary School: 108,875

Macfarlane Park Elementary Magnet School: 58,536

Maniscalco Elementary School: 74,175

Martinez Middle School: 56,441

McKitrick Elementary School: 91,159

Middleton High School: 113,166

Miles Elementary School: 61,356

Mintz Elementary School: 209,964

Mitchell Elementary School: 56,008

Mount Pleasant Standard Base Middle School: 49,226

Mulrennan Middle School: 50,677

Newpoint High of Tampa: 211,336

Newsome High School: 55,002

Northwest Elementary School: 217,232

Oak Park Elementary School: 181,299

Orange Grove Middle Magnet School: 83,040

Pinecrest Elementary School: 75,004

Pizzo Elementary School: 124,728

Plant City High School: 31,912

Plant High School: 138,912

Pride Elementary School: 63,999

Progress Village Middle Magnet School: 56,929

Rampello K-8 Magnet School: 62,001

Randall Middle School: 76,250

Riverhills Elementary School: 220,746

Riverview High School: 182,760

Robinson High School: 69,090

Roosevelt Elementary School: 50,858

Schwarzkopf Elementary School: 184,016

Seffner Elementary School: 64,608

Sessums Elementary School: 71,416

Shiloh Elementary Charter School: 5,970

Sickles High School: 59,758

Springhead Elementary School: 81,405

Steinbrenner High School: 68,296

Stowers Elementary School: 94,193

Strawberry Crest High School: 73,744

Summerfield Crossings Elementary: 60,445

Symmes Elementary School: 57,785

Tampa Bay Tech High School: 31,130

Tampa Palms Elementary School: 43,342

Terrace Community Middle School: 61,418

Tinker Elementary School: 74,490

Trinity Upper School: 8,209

Turner Elementary School: 14,320

Valrico Lake Advantage Academy: 21,269

Walden Lake Elementary School: 29,199

Walker Middle Magnet School: 26,703

Walton Academy: 38,385

Westchase Elementary School: 28,457

Williams Middle Magnet School: 13,900

Wilson Elementary School: 20,703

Wilson Middle School: 50,333

Wimauma Elementary School: 18,148

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