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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

More bad financial news for schools



Openwallet The news came late Friday -- Florida's budget looks to come in another $1.4-billion below initial revenue estimates.

Education, which gobbles up about a third of the state's spending, looked a prime spot to take a hit. But how much? Already the education lobbyists are making predictions and warning superintendents.

Ruth Melton of the Florida School Boards Association sent an e-mail to superintendents saying, in part:

"It is unlikely that such a session will be called before January 2009. At that time, if there is no new influx of revenue, it is expected that K-12 education will be cut by AT LEAST $500 million -- and this does NOT include reductions that may occur in local funding due to reduced property tax revenue.  In general, school districts are advised to brace for an ADDITIONAL 2-3% budget cut for THIS fiscal year."

Joyfrank Joy Frank of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents cut to the chase in her e-mail (which includes an attached summary of the estimating conference), too:

"The bottom line is that we need to reduce this year's budget by another $1.5 billion or find an additional $1.5 billion in revenue. If the decision is made to cut the FY 2008-2009 budget by another $1.5 billion the public school share of that reduction is about 34% or about $510 million."

We're still waiting to see how the districts will cut 1.93 percent, as mandated by the governor. Another round of slashing looks likely to increase the pain. And as Melton points out, this is all for the current budget year. Next year promises to hold much of the same.

Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino, whose district continues to see enrollment grow, recently said she plans to prepare a 2009-10 budget using 2005 funding figures. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:05am]


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