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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Budget bottom line in Pasco: 4.5 percent cuts for employees who remain

About 513 Pasco County school district jobs, including 458 school level positions, are on the chopping block as the School Board looks to cut $54.4 million in next year's budget. It's a bit less than originally expected because of changes to school district retirement contributions set by lawmakers. 

Other allocations on the line include 35 at the district level and 20 in self-sufficient departments such as food and nutrition.

The savings generated from those cuts -- about $27.8 million -- would not cover the total shortfall, though. Along with federal Edujobs funds and the transfer of capital funds for property insurance costs, a hole of about $5.9 million would remain.

Board members are looking to a pay cut in the form of furloughs -- four days for 12-month employees, three days for everyone else -- to make up the difference. That's an average reduction of about 1.5 percent for employees. Paired with state-mandated pension contributions, employees will face a total pay cut of about 4.5 percent.

Board members said during a Wednesday workshop that they would support reduction but not elimination of programs such as the arts and athletics. But they also cautioned that the coming year's cuts would include use of about $21 million in one-time funds yet again, so ideas such as a four-day week and other savings will remain in play for 2012-13.

"We need to be continuing to think long-term," vice chairman Allen Altman said.

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said she would ask the board to approve staff allocations next week, with meetings to follow quickly to inform any employees who are in line for layoffs as administrators determine where specific cuts should be made. More details to follow.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:24am]


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