It doesn't hurt to ask, anyway
With its annual local legislative delegation meeting days away, the Pasco County School Board set forth a list of priorities on Tuesday that board members and superintendent Heather Fiorentino acknowledged was optimistic but perhaps unlikely.
At the heart of the matters remained funding, a sore spot for Florida school districts over the past several years. Once again, Pasco leaders said they want more money even as lawmakers repeat in Tallahassee that revenue is going in the other direction again.
Pasco's top priority request for the lawmakers is to return student funding to at least the level the district got in 2007-08. It's important, government affairs liaison Summer Romagnoli said, especially seeing that the district will run out of federal stimulus funds after this fiscal year ends.
The board also is proposing that the Legislature set aside enough money to pay for the technology needed to move to computerized state testing, and to support any merit pay plan the state might impose. Officials said they do not want to have to pull money from general revenue to cover these mandates if they don't have to.
Romagnoli suggested that such moves would go a long way toward helping school districts implement initiatives without harming instruction and programs. But although lawmakers have supported giving districts flexibility in the past, such as allowing them to reroute textbook funding into general spending, they have not often gone so far as the district is suggesting.
Other priorities on the district list include:
- Support as much flexibility as possible in class size implementation, including a possible repeal of penalties for noncompliance.
- Develop a tiered diploma system with increased graduation requirements for top tier and career education requirements for other tiers. Include all tiers in calculation of graduation rates.
- Align required timelines for employee evaluations with the timeline for receiving student assessment data.
The Pasco legislative delegation meeting is at 1 p.m. Friday at Mitchell High School in Trinity. It is open to the public.