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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco teachers union blasts Starkey for position on tax



Every year around this time, Pasco County School Board member Kathryn Starkey skips a board meeting to go pick her twins up from summer camp in North Carolina.

She publicly announces that she'll be absent. She donates her board salary for the meeting to a school-related organization.

Usually, this barely makes a ripple. But this year isn't usual, as Starkey is opposing a recommendation to increase the school district property tax rate -- a proposal that the United School Employees of Pasco backs heartily. The added revenue, about $5.5 million, would fill a budget hole and allow the district to avoid cutting more jobs.

Starkey tells the Gradebook that she can't abandon her parental duty of retrieving her kids from camp this coming Tuesday, when the board will consider the tax. Besides, she added, if she misses the session, "This is not the final vote" on the tax and 2010-11 budget. That comes in September.

Still, the USEP has criticized Starkey in its latest alert to members.

"Starkey proposes rejecting the millage on principle to 'send a message to Tallahassee,'" the group wrote. "Conveniently, Ms. Starkey, who is resigning her position to run for a House seat, won’t be here to deal with the effects her principles will have on our students and employees. USEP is asking you to contact the school board members to do the right thing for Pasco’s students and employees by approving the .25 millage increase."

[Last modified: Thursday, July 22, 2010 3:25pm]


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