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Best and Brightest Update

July 29 update: This article has been updated to include the State Board of Education’s definition of “content expert” for the recruitment bonus.

For more information Best and Brightest lawsuits see Best and Brightest Lawsuit Questions and Answers.


As part of Senate Bill 7070, all of the previous requirements for Best and Brightest were scrapped, and the program now has three components. For the sake of ease, we will address each of them separately.

Recruitment Bonus: $4,000 one time bonus

K-12 classroom teacher who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is “newly-hired”
  • Is a “content expert” in mathematics, science, computer science, reading or civics.
    • However, the law does not stipulate the teacher must teach one of those content areas; just that the teacher must be a “context expert” in math, science, computer science, reading, or civics.
  • Neither the term “newly-hired” nor “content expert” are defined in law, the Department of Education has still not defined “newly-hired.”
  • The State Board did pass a board rule in an emergency meeting on July 29th in which they defined “content expert.” You can read the definition here.
  • FEA still has questions about this bonus (and asked several questions during the emergency board meeting). The Department of Education has released a list of Frequently Asked Questions which you can find here. 

Retention Bonus: $2,500 for Highly Effective/$1,000 for Effective

K-12 classroom teacher who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Rated Highly Effective or Effective
  • Taught in the same school for two consecutive years.
    • To receive the funds in the 2019-20 school year, the teacher must have taught at a qualifying school for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years
  • Taught in a school that “improved an average of three percentage points or more in the percentage of total possible points achieved for determining school grades over the prior three years.”

On July 17th, the Florida Department of Education released a memo clarifying how they will calculate growth in order to determine if a school qualifies for best and brightest. You can read the memo here. 

Recognition Bonus:  The bonus amount is not specified.

K-12 instructional personnel who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Rated highly effective or effective
  • Selected by their school principal.
  • The law does not provide criteria by which principals are to select teachers but does require school boards to adopt policies to determine the criteria.
  • However, this does not mean principals can give this money out however they want. FEA maintains that since the bonus is compensation, the policies by which the recognition bonus is awarded should be negotiated.
  • The recognition bonus would be paid out with whatever funds are remaining after the recruitment and retention bonuses have been allocated.
  • Instructional personnel are defined in state statue as K-12 personnel including the following: classroom teachers, student personnel services, librarian/media specialists, other instructional staff, and paraprofessionals.
  • While the “recognition” bonus does expand the eligible pool, prekindergarten teachers and many education staff professionals are still left out of all three bonus programs.

 

 

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