South Florida schools awarded $35 million in state recognition funds

Some $35 million will be doled out this week to nearly 400 schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to fund temporary hires and equipment or to be paid out as bonuses, the Florida Department of Education announced Monday.

The awards are part of the state’s School Recognition Program, established by the Florida Legislature in 1997 to reward high-performing schools. Money awarded by the program goes to schools that received an “A” on the state’s grading formula, improved by a letter grade, or maintained a grade after improving by two letter grades the previous year.

This year, the state awarded $134 million total to almost 1,700 schools, at about $93 per student. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed that that amount increase to $125 a student next year.

Locally, Broward schools received $15 million and Miami-Dade $19.6 million. Money was awarded based on October’s student count, so larger schools like J.P. Taravella High and Coral Gables Senior High received more than a quarter-million dollars each. Each school decides through its own committee how to use the money.

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