The Osceola County School Board and the Osceola County Educators Association have reached a tentative agreement on how to disperse awards from Florida’s Best and Brightest Teacher Program.

Created by state law, with the funds coming from Tallahassee, 3,410 instructional staff and 514 paraprofessionals in Osceola County will be recognized with one of three awards: a recruitment award, retention award or recognition award.

It still needs School Board approval, but eligible full-time K-12 and adult education instructional and paraprofessional employees receiving the retention and recognition awards would receive their awards no later than the second paycheck in December 2019.

The recruitment award will be paid in two installments in the second paycheck in December 2019 and the second paycheck in May 2020.

“I am extremely happy that the School Board was able to work collaboratively with OCEA to reward as many high-performing teachers and paraprofessional employees as possible with these funds allocated by the state,” said Clarence Thacker, Chairman of the Osceola County School Board. “Our intent is to get these dollars in our employees’ pockets quickly in recognition of their dedication and hard work.”

The original law that created Best & Brightest has been changed over the years, from being based on teachers’ standardized test scores when they were student to based on their classroom evaluations. The law was also changed to include “all instructional personnel,” including literacy coaches, paraprofessionals and deans.

“We made certain every dollar released by Tallahassee went into the pockets of our educators,” OCEA President Apryle Jackson said. “We’re disappointed that it did not include pre-kindergarten teachers and paraprofessionals, but we hope to get these bonuses released to our teachers’ first paychecks of December.”