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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Cell phone use up in Pinellas school district, legislative survey says

5

February

Student-wise, the Pinellas school district is about half as big as the Hillsborough district. But according to a recent survey put together for Florida lawmakers, Pinellas issued twice as many cell phones to its employees this year - 1,053 to 495.

The Hernando school district, meanwhile, issued more than twice as many cell phones as Pasco - 202 to 87 - even though it's less than half the size.

The survey was on the agenda at yesterday's meeting of the Senate PreK-12 Appropriations Committee (you can find it beginning on page 8 here) so it goes without saying that some lawmakers aren't happy with what they think is out-of-control cell phone use.

Last year, the Legislature changed state law to say school districts can't spent public funds on cell phones in 2009-10 "unless otherwise specifically approved by the district school board." This year, Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, has threatened further action.

Perhaps getting the drift, all but one of the state's 10 big urban districts either reduced the number of cell phones from last year, or kept roughly the same number.

The exception: Pinellas. According to the survey, it increased the number of cell phones from 979 to 1,053.

The agenda packet also contains information from the Florida Department of Education, which says it put a big dent in cell phone costs last year and dropped the number of Blackberry accounts from 355 in January to 200 in August.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:49am]

    

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