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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco County's school budget woes worsen



Pasco County school officials counted on having to send about $4 million back to the Florida Department of Education this year.

They knew the state's enrollment projections for the district were nearly 900 students too high, so they made plans to return the per-student funds for them from the start.

What they didn't expect was another $2.5 million hit from past years' revisions to the district's enrollment data. So now the finance department is looking for ways to come up with that money while also preparing for next year's budget cuts, which are estimated to be $46.7 million before taking into account any revenue reductions that might come out of the legislative session.

That $46.7 million figure is based on several one-time sources of revenue that the district is spending this year but won't have available next year. School Board member Cynthia Armstrong asked staff for the plan of attack.

Chief finance officer Olga Swinson said the board should begin talking about the possibilities next week during an executive session on contract negotiations. Many of the biggest cost-cutting measures require collective bargaining, and the staff wants to check with the board before pushing ahead.

But expect major shifts, assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose cautioned: "You've got to have some big money, so we've got to have some big ideas." 

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:16pm]


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