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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Not enough funds? Cancel school days



Pileomoney Nearly $500-million in cuts to public education continued to sail through the Florida Legislature today, with the GOP majority killing Democratic efforts to lessen the blow.

A proposal by Sen. Ted Deutch to shift money from transportation projects to higher education went nowhere. Same for his pitch to remove a provision that would allow the commissioner of education to reduce employee salaries in districts that can't resolve their fiscal emergencies.

The House is still talking, with just a few leadership filed amendments on tap.

As you ponder the action here and think about how bad things look, consider California, where things look worse. The Los Angeles school district just sent layoff notices to 2,300 teachers, and several districts are reopening contracts to negotiate pay cuts.

Hoping to save $1.1-billion, Gov. Schwarzenegger has suggested cutting the state-mandated school year by five days, the LA Times reports.

The move, which educators have deemed colossally bad, would give California one of the shortest school years in the country. And kids can't learn if they're not in school, right?

The Governator has countered that cutting days is better that cutting people and programs. Plus, his lobbyist told the LA Times, it's just an option to give districts flexibility in how they spend scarce resources. The state also is looking at letting districts use restricted funds, like textbook money, more liberally -- just like in Florida.

Could this be the next idea to come out of Tallahassee? Lawmakers have said the regular session is going to hurt more than the special session. And Gov. Crist seems cut of the same political cloth as Arnold. Stay tuned.

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


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