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City awards bonuses to fewer schools after test scores drop

The number of city schools whose teachers are taking home bonuses fell to just 26 this year, with many past winners falling victim to the citywide decline in test scores.

About 200 schools with many high-needs students are eligible for annual bonuses if their progress report scores increase sufficiently. Schools meeting their target score increase receive up to $3,000 per teachers union member, which a team of teachers and administrators decide how to distribute.

In 2009, when progress report scores skyrocketed, teachers at 139 elementary and middle schools — 91 percent of those eligible — took home $27.1 million in bonuses. Staff at 20 high schools were awarded bonuses of $3.5 million.

But after last year’s precipitous test score drop, the total number of schools earning the latest round of bonuses is just 26, Department of Education Officials announced today. The awards range from $48,000 to teachers at the tiny High School for Violin and Dance in the Bronx to more than half a million dollars for staff at PS 77, a Brooklyn school for severely disabled students.

The city did not announce which principals would take home performance bonuses, but the bonus program for principals has in the past awarded up to $25,000 to principals whose schools ranked in the top 20 percent citywide.

Developed in 2007 by the teachers union and the city, the annual school-wide bonuses were initially funded with private dollars, but since 2009 have been paid for with public funds.

The complete list of schools receiving bonuses this year, and the amount of money their teachers will be taking home, is below.