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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco administration seeks permission for cell phone use



53859.6a00d83451b05569e20120a4f3b105970b-150wi.jpgConcerned with out of control cell phone use among some school districts, Florida lawmakers required that school boards approve all spending on cell phones, PDA's and the like in an action separate from the general budget.

The Pasco School Board takes up its annual expenditure next week. The staff is recommending 86 phones, down two from a year ago and well below the historical usage in other nearby districts, including some smaller than Pasco. 

Who's on the list? Among the phone recipients will be all five board members, who will get iPhones; the superintendent and her leadership team; and key employees in district maintenance, construction and plant operations. (See the full list attached below.)

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino has defended the list as minimal, and inclusive only of employees who have functions that require easy communication from wherever they need to be. Information technology specialists, for instance, must have mobility when troubleshooting technology needs at the district's more than 80 work sites.

What do you think? Should a cell phone be standard operating equipment for these school district employees, even when money is tight? We know we're lost without the connection and so, too, are most kids we see in the schools. Cutting the "cord" would be a symbolic budget reduction at best, with the district facing shortfalls in the multimillions, anyway, and the result could be reduced (or at least slower) services. But then, a dollar here and a dollar there adds up.

Let's hear your views.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:02pm]


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