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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida school districts keep looking for FCAT reimbursement



It's been months since Florida school districts submitted their bills to the state for all the extra work incurred by the late arrival of all their 2010 FCAT results.

Pinellas schools rang up $168,153 in postage, added work hours and related expenses. Pasco schools spent $31,824. Hillsborough's bill was for $173, 424.

With the 2011 FCAT testing just around the corner, the districts have yet to receive a cent.

"We are still awaiting reimbursement," Pinellas spokeswoman Andrea Zahn told the Gradebook. "So far, we've gotten nothing," Pasco spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said.

For those seeking to cast blame, this time it can't go to test-maker Pearson. The company has its faults, but it did pay its multimillion-dollar fine to the state a while back.

The holdup is in the Legislature. The Florida Department of Education has sent in the district requests, according to the department press office, but the Legislative Budget Commission has yet to meet to discuss them. It's possible that lawmakers might simply insert the amount into budget conforming language bills, but so far there's no indication whether that will come to pass.

You might argue that the total per district is small potatoes in a district budget that exceeds $1 billion. But times are tight, so every penny counts as boards scramble to avoid layoffs. Some lawmakers are even trying to cut board member salaries, after all, to divert money to classrooms. So stay tuned to see how this brewing concern plays out.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 3:36pm]


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