The Lowdown on Bonuses: Who’s Eligible and Who’s Paying?

The Lowdown on Bonuses: Who’s Eligible and Who’s Paying?

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Polk County Public schools news release graphic.

There’s been a lot news lately about two different, $1,000 education-related bonuses.

It can get a bit confusing. Here’s a quick recap to explain what the bonuses are, who is providing them and who is eligible.

There are two separate $1,000 bonuses. One is provided by the State of Florida. The other is provided by Polk County Public Schools. Each bonus is made possible through separate sources of federal funding related to COVID-19 relief.

State of Florida $1,000 Bonus — This one-time $1,000 bonus is for full-time classroom teachers (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) and principals. Florida lawmakers recently passed this bonus as part of the state budget, which is awaiting the governor’s signature. This bonus would be paid for using federal American Rescue Plan funds.

District $1,000 Bonus — This one-time $1,000 bonus provides PCPS support staff and some instructional staff with a reward for enduring an extremely challenging year. This $1,000 bonus will appear in this month’s paychecks and will be paid for using reimbursements from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We wanted to give a $1,000 bonus specifically to our support staff who were not getting a raise,” said Teddra Porteous, PCPS’ associate superintendent of Human Resources Services. “The intent of this bonus was to provide something to everyone — from custodians to bus drivers to secretaries. We are all one district. Regardless of their position, they played a part in keeping schools open and students learning. They should also receive a reward for their hard work. Unfortunately, we could not provide a raise for them from state funding, which was restricted to teachers.”

There are two exceptions to those who can receive the $1,000 bonus:

  • Employees hired after Jan. 15, 2021 will not be eligible.
  • Teachers who received a raise of more than two percent from a recent teacher salary increase allocation (TSIA) will also not be eligible.

A tentative agreement has been reached to increase teachers’ salaries using the TSIA. The lowest raise amount was increased to $1,200 — instead of $650.

“Between raises and bonuses, teachers will receive at least $2,200,” Porteous said. “Keep in mind that teachers who provided face-to-face and online instruction simultaneously to students — known as blended learning classes — will also receive an $800 stipend for their extra duties. Our support staff will be limited to the $1,000 district bonus.”

If you have questions, please contact the HR Call Center: hrcallcenter@polk-fl.net or (863) 534-0781 (option 2).

Common Questions Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) Raise State of Florida Bonus District Bonus
Who’s eligible? Teachers/Instructional Staff Classroom Teachers (Pre-K ESE – 12th grade) and Principals All district support staff and some teachers
When will I receive it? May 28 paycheck Expected 2021 Summer. Checks are mailed directly from State of Florida May 28 paycheck
What is the source of funds? TSIA Funds American Rescue Plan Funds Reimbursements from CARES Act
How much is it? $1,200 – $4,200 $1,000 $1,000

 

Note: Teachers who provided face-to-face and online instruction simultaneously to students — known as blended learning classes — may also receive a quarterly $200 stipend (up to $800) for their extra duties.

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