Let the cutting commence
Florida school leaders have known for months that their districts stood to lose millions if Gov. Crist decided to go through with his plan to hold back 4 percent of all state funding. Some made lists of what they might slash, while others held out until they had firm numbers in place.
Well, that time has finally come.
FDOE deputy commissioner Linda Champion has informed superintendents that the withholding will begin on Dec. 10. Because the state provides slightly less than half of public schools' money, the actual cut amounts to 1.93 percent of the funding, or $355.2-million statewide.
The state's two largest school districts, Miami-Dade and Broward, will absorb $80.1-million of the total. Here in the Tampa Bay area, the reductions will play out like this:
- Hillsborough, $26-million
- Pinellas, $14.4-million
- Pasco, $9.1-million
- Hernando, $3-million
Perhaps the worst thing about this is that these cuts might not be the last we see this year and, many lawmakers tell us, next year could be even worse. The answer, several say, is more likely to be making government "more efficient" and not raising more revenue.
"I think we're going to try to live within our means," Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, who's likely to lead one of the House appropriations committees, told the Gradebook.
To see the latest funding calculations, including the holdback amounts, click here.