Hundreds of Duval County teachers receive emails about bonuses by mistake

Duval County teachers receive emails about bonuses by mistake

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Action News Jax Investigation has revealed hundreds of Duval County School teachers received emails that said were getting bonuses but were later told they received the notification in error.

Action News Jax went to district leaders for answers and discovered hundreds of emails were sent by mistake on Thursday.

The emails congratulated teachers on their recent performance and told them they would receive an incentive in the amount of up to $5,000 based on performance.

Content Continues Below

Four days later, 273 teachers got another email that said there was an error with the notification and they are not eligible for a performance incentive.

The district gave Action News Jax the following statement:

On Thursday, March 17, an email was sent out to teachers who qualified to receive the QEA Performance Incentive based on their 2014-2015 growth measure data.  Included in this notification were 273 teachers whose performance did not meet the eligibility criteria.  Once administrators realized this error, we notified the teachers immediately and apologized for the discrepancy on Monday, March 21. This correction was made prior to any teachers receiving any overpayments. There is no standing regarding this issue because no payment was made. We regret this occurred and know our employees deserve better, and are fortunate the error was identified before payments were included in teacher paychecks. We are excited about the incentives and the additional income that several other teachers will receive based on their performance."

The mistake was corrected before any payments were made. According to emails, the first payment was supposed to have happened this Thursday.

Here’s the first email sent to teachers:

Congratulations on your recent performance based on your 2014-2015 growth measure data.  This email serves as confirmation of your eligibility for a performance incentive based on your 2014-2015 data.   You are receiving an incentive in the amount of 5000 based on performance that is NON - CORE >= 11 < 25.  The incentive bonus will be split into two payments.  It is our goal for you to receive the first payment on March 24, 2016 and the second payment in May, 2016.
You have received an indicator in at least one silo that makes you eligible for a performance incentive as defined by the MOU between the district and Duval Teachers United (DTU).  The performance criteria are as follows:

Performance Criteria

Performance Amount

VAM or Growth Score exceeds the district silo average by 25%

100% of the Retention/Recruitment Incentive

VAM or Growth Score exceeds the district silo average by 11-24%

50% of the Retention/Recruitment Incentive

VAM or Growth Score exceeds the district silo average by 1-10%

25% of the Retention/Recruitment Incentive

As a reminder, to be eligible for any performance incentive, an eligible staff member must have been employed at the school (not on unpaid leave) during the October and February survey periods, must have a signed Agreement for that year, and must have received an overall Highly Effective or Effective evaluation for that year.  Incentive bonus payments are taxed at a flat 25% rate per IRS regulations and will be added to your total annual wages as reflected on your W-2 for 2016.  However, the incentive bonuses are not qualifying payments for FRS retirement contribution purposes.

"On behalf of the district and DTU, we applaud you on your performance and support of the Transformation initiative.  Your service to your students and school community is appreciated."

They later received this email:

"Last week, an email was sent out to eligible teachers who qualified to receive the QEA Performance Incentive based on their 2014-2015 growth measure data.  This email is to notify you that there was an error with the notification that resulted in ineligible teachers being notified  that their VAM or growth score exceeded the district average by 1-10%.  Regrettably, you were one of the teachers that received an eligibility email in error.  Based on your 2014-2015 growth data, you are not eligible for a performance incentive.  We sincerely apologize for this miscommunication and any inconvenience this may have caused.  We have notified Payroll of this error to ensure that no overpayment occurs.
Your service to your students and school community is greatly appreciated."