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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

A quick budget update in Pinellas



Sorry to bring this to y'all late  ...

According to Pinellas school district estimates, the district would face an $86 million funding decrease under the budget proposal that Gov. Rick Scott recently rolled out. To put that in perspective, the district has cut $120 million over the last five years.

On the other hand, even Republican lawmakers have been slamming Scott’s proposal. Pinellas Superintendent Julie Janssen told board members at the Feb. 8 meeting, “It’s by no means something to be alarmed about … we sit tight for a while and see how it plays out.”

In an interview with the Gradebook’s Jeff Solochek (who’s working on a story about budget cuts), district chief financial officer Fred Matz said the hope is that lawmakers will “pass a better budget, more realistic” than what the governor has proposed.

He was also hopeful that lawmakers might give districts permission to implement a local-option .25 mill tax rate again without voter approval, suggesting that tax could help offset expected shortfalls of anywhere from $35.9 million to $86.6 million, depending on how the state budget shakes out.

He said the district will soon be establishing six different committees, with a variety of stakeholders, to begin looking at places to cut. The school board is scheduled to get a budget update at its March 8 workshop.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 4:22pm]


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