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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Now the school budget cutting can start at the top



Moneycut Sure, it would be more symbolic than anything. But as school boards across Florida begin another round of cutting, they soon could be able to inflict pain upon themselves as well.

As part of its efforts to slash spending by $2.8-billion, Florida lawmakers are close to adopting a bill that would allow school board members to voluntarily reduce their own salaries.

Granted, most board members make less than $50,000 a year. If every one of them gave back their entire pay, it would generate somewhere around $2-million. That's way less than 1 percent of the total, if you're not inclined to do the math.

But boards are closing schools. They're canceling teachers' step increases and giving no raises to those they're not laying off. They're cutting students field trips, sports, new textbooks and more. Everything is on the table, they say.

Including their own pay? Lawmakers are on the verge of making it so. Think any boards will make the move?

The House and Senate also reached compromise on other key education funding issues over the weekend. Read on for some details.

During conference committee, the sides agreed to:

  • Across the board cuts of 2 percent
  • Allow school districts to put off the purchase of newly adopted textbooks
  • Let all school districts use capital funds for certain general operations, for two years
  • Permit the education commissioner to waive up to 50 percent of the penalty for districts that fail to meet class-size requirements
  • Ban districts from offering severance packages worth more than one year's salary
  • Allow the education commissioner to intervene in districts facing unresolved fiscal emergencies where general reserves fall below 2 percent

Check out the revised third calculation if you like numbers.

How many school board members do you think will voluntarily reduce their salaries to help slash state spending?
None, everyone needs the extra cash.
Maybe a few that don't need the money anyway.
Most, they're not serving on a school board for the the money.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:11am]


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