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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas school board tentatively agrees to $11 million in cuts

The Pinellas County School Board tentatively agreed to more than $11 million in budget cuts today, leaving $15 million that still must be targeted in coming weeks to fill next year’s budget hole.

At a workshop, the board signalled its approval for - but did not formally vote on - a range of cuts, including a $2 million to $3 million slice out of the bus system and the elimination of a $1.7 million program that helps struggling readers.

The board is moving to identify the full suite of cuts by the end of the month, in time for the first of two public hearings on the budget July 27. Other potential cuts are slated for discussion at another workshop next Tuesday.

Among the cuts that now appear likely:

* Unspecified reductions in bus service that could include elimination of some service for high school students attending schools out of their assigned zone. (The board was slated to discuss this later in the workshop, so more details are probably coming soon.) Potential savings: $2 million to $3 million.

* Elimination of the Literacy Success program, which helps struggling readers in schools that do not quality for federal money aimed at low-income students. Potential savings: $1.7 million.

* Reduction of extended learning programs. Potential savings: $1 million.

* Renegotiation of district health care costs, including the district possibly dropping its share of employee health costs from 82 to 80 percent. Potential savings: $2.3 million.

* Elimination of small pots of “school improvement money” given to each school and used for things like teacher professional development. Potential saving: $1.2 million.

* A 15 percent reduction in each school’s discretionary budget, often used for items like copy paper and classroom supplies. Potential savings: $1.5 million.

* Reduction of contracted services, i.e., training. Potential savings: $1 million.

* Reduction of travel reimbursement rates for mileage and meals. Potential savings: $100,000

* Reduction of math and science coaches. Potential savings: $800,000

Read more here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:07am]


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