Not just next year?
We've already heard the dire forecast - Florida will see another year of revenue decline, probably in the billions. Some lawmakers are warning that the situation is bad enough that they might not be able to hold schools harmless as promised if voters back property tax structure changes in a January referendum, as the Miami Herald reports.
But school districts are bracing for the worst even sooner. Lee County has begun preparing for cuts in the next few months, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino has told all her staffers who run budgets to hold as much as 10 percent in abeyance, just in case, and she's keeping a hiring freeze in place.
Joe Pickens, chairman of the Florida House Schools and Learning Council, tells the Gradebook that his time has been largely consumed with trying to figure out what to do about the funding crunch and how it will affect schools. And early cuts are not off the table, he says.
"Right now, we're hoping we don't have to make any further reductions in education this year," Pickens says. "We'll see."