Clarification on Florida Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program

District officials clarified procedures on the Florida Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program for teachers on Monday.

Gov. Rick Scott spoke last spring of several education policies to benefit teachers, including distributing debit cards worth $250, on average, to help defray the cost of classroom supplies for the 2013-14 school year. The debit cards actually were part of the Florida Teachers Lead Program, which has been included in Florida statute and has been in effect statewide for more than 10 years. (The name of the program was changed this year to the “Florida Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program.”)

After careful review of the debit card plan, Pinellas, like many districts, has opted to distribute classroom supply assistance funds in the same format as in past years.

PCS Chief Financial Officer Kevin Smith reports that one benefit of continuing current district practice on allocation of these funds will ensure that teachers receive the money via direct deposit in either their first or second paycheck in September rather than having to wait until Sept. 30, the anticipated date for distribution of debit cards. Adhering to current practice also will allow for reimbursement of monies already spent, notably for supplies purchased during the state’s “tax free holiday.”

The actual dollar amount that each teacher will receive will be based, as it has been in past years, on the total number of eligible teachers in the district. Initial estimates put that figure at between $230 and $240, compared with $170 last year. Additional information will be sent to teachers.