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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'Something we have to pay extremely close attention to'



school_tax_money.Interim Pinellas Superintendent John Stewart has been on the job less than two weeks, but he's already talking about the critical tax referendum vote - and the more than $30 million that hinges on it annually - that's looming just around the corner.

Stewart told board members last night he had a conversation Monday with Beth Rawlins, the political consultant who spearheaded the successful drives to get the half-mil referendum passed in 2004 and renewed in 2008. He also mentioned speaking with teachers union representatives about the issue.

"We talked about the referendum and how important it is to our district. It means $3,000 to every teacher in our district," he said. "It is something we have to pay extremely close attention to as we approach the key date in 2012."

The board has not set a date for when it wants to see the referendum on the ballot. But there are already real jitters that the referendum may not cruise to passage like it did the first two times.

"We're going to be working with our partners at PCTA and other places in the community, reaching out to them and trying to get what we need done," Stewart also told the board. "Because that not only is money for the teachers, but it funds the arts, which is so critical for our curriculum needs, and technology programs. It's just too important to not pay a lot of attention to." 

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[Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 5:16pm]


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