Statewide Teacher Pay Increase Q & A

Updated June 19, 2013

1.      Q:  How are the funds to be distributed to teachers? 

A:  Funds are to be distributed through locally bargained and approved distribution plans.

2.      Q:  Is this a one-time bonus or a salary increase?

A:  The allocation is for salary increases and related benefits for FICA and FRS.

3.      Q:  Are districts required to pay $2,500 to teachers rated as effective and $3,500 to teachers rated as highly effective?

A:  No.  Districts may collaborate with bargaining units to determine how salary increases are to be distributed.

4.      Q:  May funds be used for something other than salary increases, such as building improvements or instructional programming?

A:  No.  The allocation is for salary increases and related benefits for FICA and FRS.

5.      Q:  Are these funds required to be distributed based on performance?

A:  Funds may be distributed based on performance.  Districts may collaborate with bargaining units to determine how salary increases are distributed.

6.      Q:  If the decision is made locally to distribute funds based on performance, what needs to be included in the performance evaluation?

A:  This is to be locally determined.  Districts may base salary increases on the performance measured for the 2012 – 2013 school year, plan to distribute based on performance in the 2013 – 2014 year, or distribute funds on another locally agreed upon performance system.

7.      Q:  When are these funds to be allocated?

A:  Districts will receive funds in the semi-monthly Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) payments as soon as their board-approved plans are submitted to the department. Payments could begin as early as July 2013 if the plans have been received.

8.      Q:  Who is eligible to receive funds?

A:  Proviso language lists, “classroom teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, librarians, principals, and assistant principals,” as those eligible to receive funds from this allocation. Decisions made locally should address how, if at all, this allocation may affect employees not listed in proviso. Districts may collaborate with bargaining units to determine how salary increases are distributed.

9.      Q:  Are charter school teachers eligible?

A:  Yes.  Charter schools were including in the calculation and are eligible to receive a portion of this allocation to provide salary increases.

10.   Q:  Are virtual school teachers eligible?

A:  Yes.  Virtual school personnel who are employees of the district or charter school are eligible to receive a portion of this allocation to provide salary increases.

11.   Q:  How will the state calculate the funding amount to be distributed to each district?

A:  The allocation per district is reflected in the 2013-14 FEFP conference report and was proportionate to the district’s share of base funding.

12.   Q:  Are districts required to spend more than their respective appropriated amount for salary increases should more funding be needed for each qualifying person to receive a salary increase?

A:  No.  However, if a district chooses to provide a salary increase that results in a greater amount than their district allocation, the district would be responsible for covering the additional costs.

13.   Q:  Are these funds to be used to cover previously bargained salary increases, or is the increase considered to be in addition to what our district already plans to offer?

A:  Funds are to be distributed for new salary increases as determined by collective bargaining agreement.

14.   Q:  Can the salary increase be paid as a supplement (twice per fiscal year) or does it have to be distributed within the existing salary?

A:  This is a salary increase to be included in the base salary as determined by collective bargaining agreement.

15.   Q:  Is funding provided for future years?

A:  The Governor and Legislature worked to provide recurring funds for this allocation.

16.   Q:  What must the district provide to the state in order to receive funds?

A:  In order to receive funds, the district must provide to the department a plan detailing how funds will be distributed to employees, including who is eligible, when funds will be distributed, the salary increase amounts, and evidence of any collective bargaining agreement that was completed.  This “distribution plan” must be approved by the local school board.

If districts plan to distribute funds based on performance, the evaluation plan on which the distributions will be based must be submitted to the department.  If it is determined locally to base salary increases on a performance metric other than an evaluation plan, the details of the metric(s) must be submitted.  The local school board must approve the evaluation plan or the alternative metric(s) if applicable.

Note: The process by which plans for this allocation are submitted, etc., does not eliminate other submission and approval processes under current law or other agreements, such as Race to The Top. 

17.   Q:  What must be included in the distribution plan?

A:  For information purposes, the distribution plan must include the following:

  • The classes/categories of personnel who are receiving compensation;
  • The criteria for earning the compensation, including whether the plan is based on performance demonstrated on the district’s 2012-13 or 2013-14 evaluation system. If the plan is based on a 2013-14 evaluation system, that system will have to be submitted to the department for approval prior to issuing the funds.
  • The timeframe for distributing the compensation to district employees.
  • Verification that any required negotiation has been completed and the school board has approved the plan.

18.   Q:  What must be included in an evaluation system?

A:  The district’s personnel evaluation system must continue to meet requirements of s. 1012.34, F.S., whether the system is linked to this compensation plan or not.

19.   Q:  What is the process for submitting distribution plans?

A:  Additional guidance for distribution plans will be available June 2013.

20.   Q:  What is the process for submitting evaluation plans?

A:  Evaluation plans submitted for this purpose are to follow the process currently in place. If salary increases are to be based on an evaluation plan, the evaluation plan must be submitted with the distribution plan.  If salary increases are not to be based on an evaluation plan, districts should follow the evaluation plan submission process currently in place. Additional guidance will be available June 2013.

21.  Q:  What is the timeline for submitting distribution plans?

A:  Districts may submit a distribution plan to the department beginning June 2013 and as soon as the plan is approved by the local school board. The department will start the process of distributing funds from this allocation to districts once it has received the distribution plan and evaluation plan (if applicable).

22.  Q:  Will the DOE approve plans?

A:  For the purposes of this allocation, the department will not be “approving” plans and may not deny districts funds based on the plans submitted.  However, the department will request that districts provide some specific information about their distribution plans so that the department can properly allocate funds and meet its legal obligations.

23.  Q:  If my district is participating in Race to the Top, can this plan also be used as the district’s Race to the Top Compensation Plan, so that I don’t have to implement two separate plans?

A:  A district can choose to have only one plan, provided the plan meets the requirements for this allocation and for Race to the Top (RTTT). The RTTT compensation plan for teachers and principals has two parts: performance compensation and differentiated pay. The RTTT Phase II MOU indicates that the performance portion of the plan must “tie the most significant gains in salary to effectiveness as demonstrated by annual evaluations.”  The compensation plan a district uses for this appropriation can serve as the performance portion of a district’s RTTT compensation plan, provided the salary increases distributed to teachers and principals in the plan “tie the most significant gains in salary to effectiveness as demonstrated by annual evaluations.” This would not preclude salary increases distributed to other personnel, if that is what is agreed upon locally.

The second portion of the district’s RTTT compensation plan simply needs to demonstrate how the district implements differentiated pay as already required by law.

24.  Q:  Does this allocation change the requirements for teacher evaluations?

A:  No.  Teacher evaluation systems and approval requirements are separate from this salary distribution plan.  In addition, performance pay required by the Student Success Act in section 1012.22, F.S., is separate from this distribution and will still go into effect in accordance with the law during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

New Questions and Answers as of June 10, 2013

25.  Q:  Based on the answers to questions 5-8, does the language in the conforming bill that reads, “or board approved evaluation plan” allow the school district to provide salary increases to categories of employees other than those listed in the proviso language?

A:  Yes, provided that the plan is negotiated in accordance with the district’s collective bargaining process and it is approved by the district school board.

26.  Q:  Does the answer to question 25 enable a district to distribute these funds to all teachers and other staff who contributed to the success in student achievement as measured on state assessments with bargaining unit collaboration?

A: Yes.

27.  Q: How do I submit my district’s plan to the department?

A: When the district school board has approved the plan, it should be submitted to the department electronically to TeacherSalaryAllocat@fldoe.org with the subject line “Salary distribution plan for [district name]” along with the completed Cover Sheet for District Distribution Plans found at the end of this Q and A document. The Cover Sheet lists the information needed to process the release of the funds. The department will provide an acknowledgement that the information has been received and is complete, or, if information is missing, will provide a response with the information needed to process the release of the funds.  As soon as the information is received, funds will be released to the district.

 

28.  Q:  Based on the answers to questions 2 and 4, is it correct that we can take FICA and FRS contributions for both the “employee” and the “employer” out of our proportional allocation of the $480 million?

A:  Yes. The Teacher Salary Allocation was provided for salary increases and related FICA and FRS benefits.

29.  Q:  If the answer to the previous question is “yes” regarding the employer’s fringe, then is it possible to take other variable fringe out of the allocation as well – specifically Workers Comp and Life Insurance? They are paid on a percentage basis the same as FRS and FICA?

A:  The proviso language that describes the purpose of the funding specifically refers to “related benefits for FICA and FRS.”  There is no authority to use the funds for other employee-related benefits.

30.  Q:  Based on the answer to question 13, is it correct that these funds could be inclusive of previously bargained salary increases for 2013-14, assuming of course that we go back to the table and collectively bargain to add to the previous agreement?

A:  Yes. Funds from the Teacher Salary Allocation are provided for new salary increases in 2013-14 determined through the collective bargaining process, regardless of when the bargaining started.

31.  Q:  Will the dollar amount for each district be recalculated based on actual FTE as the year progresses (actual October and February numbers)?

A:  Yes. The district allocations will be recalculated following each student membership survey.

 

32.  Q:  Could the district’s allocated share of the $480 million be prorated if dollars are not enough to fully fund the FEFP?

A:  Since the allocation per district is proportionate to the district’s share of base funding, any proration of FEFP would include the Teacher Salary Allocation.

33.  Q:  If teacher salary schedules are increased via the use of these state funds, is there any issue with paying a Title I teacher his/her new total salary using Title I funds (or is the increase in salary tied to the “state” funds)?

A:  No. For teachers funded from a federal source, a district could use available federal funds from the appropriate source to fund the salary increase. However, if there are no available federal funds for this purpose, the increase could be funded from the Teacher Salary Allocation.

34.  Q:  Do the districts have to have a separate accounting of the salary increase included in the FEFP? If so, every teacher would need to be split coded. What happens to the unspent money if any?

A:  A record of the amount of the Teacher Salary Allocation attributed to each employee should be maintained.  The purpose of the Teacher Salary Allocation is for a one-time salary increase as approved by the school board and negotiated with collective bargaining units.  The plan should ensure that the district’s entire allocation is expended for the one-time salary increase.  Any funds not expended for the salary increase should be forwarded to the Department of Education for reversion to the state treasury.

 

Since the allocation per district is proportionate to the district’s share of base funding, any proration of FEFP would include the Teacher Salary Allocation.

35.  Q:  Are teachers who are in DROP eligible for an increase?

A: Yes, subject to the district’s board-approved plan and the collective bargaining process.

36.  Q:  Will the salary allocation be recalculated after each FTE survey or is the allocation not to be recalculated as is the case with the ESE guarantee?

A:  Unless specific language prohibits recalculation of an FEFP earmark or categorical, the district allocations continue to be recalculated with each FTE survey.  There is no specific language for the Teacher Salary Allocation that would prohibit recalculation.

37.  Q:  Where do charter schools submit their plans and who must approve the salary allocation plans and evaluation plans for charter schools?

A:  The charter school salary plans should be provided to the school district.  Since no “approval” of the plan is required, the district should disburse the funds to the charter school when the district has received the plan and has evidence that the charter school governing board approved it.  If the district chooses to use the same cover sheet to receive charter school plans as the department is using to receive district plans (see question 27), the district may do so. When the district has collected all of the charter school plans, a copy of those plans should be forwarded to the department.

38.  Q:  Will new charters (just opening) also receive their proportional share of the district’s allocation?

A:  Yes. Student enrollment projections for 2013-14 included new charter school students and were the basis for the FEFP funding appropriated to public schools.

39.  Q:  Where can I ask additional questions?

A:  Please send additional questions to TeacherSalaryAllocat@fldoe.org.

 

 


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