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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school district to sports teams: Stay closer to home

In the every little penny counts column, the Pasco County school district has told its high school sports coaches to create 2011-12 schedules that limit travel, if possible.

At an end-of-the-year meeting, district athletic director Phil Bell told principals and school A.D.'s to try to play the schools in county before leaving the county as a way to cut back on bus expenses.

"I want to make sure that Gulf High School plays Land O'Lakes, when maybe they wouldn't have to, before Gulf goes to Hernando County," Bell explained.

Of course, the direction is not intended to cancel district play, which often crosses county borders, as that's how teams qualify for state tournaments.

The district's finance team has said that high school athletics play only a minor part in the general operating budget, with most of the costs associated with the supplements that coaches receive. School Board members have resisted cutting the $1.5 million or so in the budget, likening sports to dropout prevention.

Still, with a budget shortfall of $55 million (and perhaps growing), every department continues to seek ways to pinch pennies. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino is slated to meet with administrators this week to continue to talk budget cuts.

[Last modified: Monday, May 23, 2011 12:47pm]


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