Local teachers could see bonuses

KINGMAN ­ Teachers that worked in the Kingman Unified School District and Kingman Academy of Learning this past school year and new teachers in the KAOL next fiscal year may be eligible to receive a one-time bonus from special money put into the Classroom Site Fund.

"I'm not really surprised," said Terry White, director of business and finance for the KUSD.

"As the economy continues to improve we'll see more revenue available for distribution through the Classroom Site Fund."

Classroom Site Fund money is used to improve classroom instruction, primarily through raising teacher pay. Escalating state land sale prices, home sales and increased consumer spending are factors that have contributed to an increase of $58.6 million over last year in Classroom Site Fund money, bringing the total amount to be divided among school districts to $417.5 million, according to an Associated Press story Friday.

Roughly 400 KUSD teachers stand to receive the bonus during 2005-2006. White estimates each would get $1,250, if the district governing board authorizes the payments.

"If the state kicks in all the money at once we would distribute it in December," White said. "If they distribute it as in the past we'd have to change our distribution schedule (to include payments in April and August of 2006).

White said that based on a weighted student count formula used by the state the KUSD will get about $580,000 in Classroom Site Fund revenue during 2005-2006.

"I've already received information that the dollar amount per weighted student will increase up to $353 next year," White said. "The amount this year was $242 per student.

"$41 of the increase reflects the improved economy. $70 is a carryover of excess revenue the state got this year beyond estimates. Everyone should be made aware that because we get that carryover one year doesn't mean we will again."

Voters approved the creation of the Classroom Site Fund in November 2000 with the passage of Proposition 301, which added a six cent sales tax dedicated to education.

There is one other consideration in arriving at how much Classroom Site Fund money each KUSD teacher this past year stands to get next year.

"I'll have to research Senate Bill 1074," White said. "It requires governing boards to adopt a Prop. 301 performance based plan in a public hearing in order to get Prop. 301 performance based money."

A check of the state's Web site indicates the House and Senate adopted SB1074 on May 10. Gov. Janet Napolitano signed it on May 12.

The dollar amount per weighted student for the Kingman Academy of Learning would also rise from its $242 level this fiscal year to $353 next year with $70 of that amount being a one-time carryover figure, said Brownie Hamlyn, KAOL business manager.

It equates to roughly $106,000 in additional Classroom Site Funds for the KAOL for 2005-2006. It could mean about $1,400 extra per teacher next year, assuming all teachers pass required evaluations.

Hamlyn said the bonus would be disbursed in December if received in a lump sum from the state, or on a similar payment schedule to the KUSD. A total of 66 KAOL teachers would be eligible with some of those being new to the district.

"I'm not surprised about the added funds," Hamlyn said.

"Back in April the state let us know it looked as if the state had collected more sales taxes that fund 301 money than was anticipated for release in 2005-2006."

Payment would also have to be authorized by the district governing board of the KAOL.

Hamlyn added the state encourages districts not to spend Classroom Site Fund money until it's received.