From today's Palm Beach Post-
Joan Compare taught fifth-grade science and language arts at Indiantown Middle School last year, when the school's state grade jumped from a C to a B. So when the state gave the school about $48,000 in recognition money, Compare assumed she'd get a share.What you did Ms. Peterson-Daly may have been legal but it wasn't right. Doing things the way they've always been done is the excuse of knuckleheads. You and the rest of the employees at Indiantown Middle School are little more than thieves. You may not get one of my awards, but God will judge all of you for what you did to Ms. Compare.
Because she transferred this year to Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School, Compare is not eligible for a bonus; staff at the Indiantown school decided to split the money only among employees who worked at the school last year and are still on the payroll.
"I really feel, deep in my heart, that they're stealing from me," said Compare, who is among four teachers who transferred from Indiantown to Anderson Middle. "I'm one of the teachers that improved that school."
Indiantown Middle School violated no rules, but Compare's complaint underscores the sometimes contentious debate about how to spend school recognition money, which the state awards to A-rated schools and those that improve a letter grade.
"We always hear a couple of complaints every year," Martin County School Board Chairman Lorie Shekailo said. "The way it's set up, in my opinion, provides for divisiveness instead of cooperation."
But the district has no say in how the money is awarded. State law gives the power to school staff and school advisory councils, which can spend the money on staff bonuses, school supplies or temporary employees.
Indiantown Middle's decision to give out bonuses but exclude staffers who left the school was "not at all" intended to punish teachers who transferred, said Pam Peterson-Daly, an eighth-grade teacher and chairman of the school's advisory council. Rather, it was simply the same approach taken the last time Indiantown Middle received school recognition money.
This year, about 95 percent of the staff voted on how to distribute the money, and about 65 percent favored splitting it evenly among every employee who was at the school both last year and this year, Peterson-Daly said.
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