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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

How can Hillsborough save money?



Hillsborough employees: School Board members want to hear from you.

In a budget workshop Tuesday, the Board learned that current budget pain isn't likely to let up soon. Hillsborough schools have taken a $17.6 million budget hit for fiscal year 2007-08, thanks to the legislative cuts in education funding. The economic outlook for the future doesn't look so hot.

So what's a school district with a $3.1-billion annual budget to do?

"I don't see a lot of fat," Board member Candy Olson said.

She suggested reaching out for ideas, an idea embraced by other members of the School Board. They proposed surveying district staff to find out where wasteful spending occurs. The district even could offer financial rewards for good ideas. (The details of doing the survey remained up in the air.)

In this atmosphere of belt-tightening, some are questioning the amount of money flowing to outside consultants through no-bid contracts. Board member April Griffin brought this up at the budget workshop. It later saw heated debate at the Board's business meeting.

Others blasted the increased demands being placed on public schools, even as funding is cut.

"We're going to be dead last again in the state of Florida, because they keep cutting funding," Board member Carol Kurdell said. "The more I think about it, the madder I get."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26am]


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