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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

State senator may try to curb school district cell phone use



Cell phones Frustrated by what he thinks is rampant, unnecessary cell phone use by school districts, the chair of the Senate PreK-12 Appropriations Committee says he may propose curbs on their use.

"They're so widely available now and everybody's got one. Use your own," Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, told the Gradebook. "I'll guarantee you, I'll bet you, that 99 percent of the people that we (school districts) bought cell phones for have their own."

Wise's comments were prompted by a 2009 state audit that noted the Pinellas school district issued 925 cell phones -- at a cost of $427,311 -- during the 2007-08 school year. "We get this a lot (from schools): We don't have any money for toilet paper, you have to bring your own," Wise said. "But we're spending $400,000 on cell phones."

Wise said the issue isn't exclusive to Pinellas or even to school districts. But as chair of the education appropriations committee, he said he'll have to cut school budgets again this year -- perhaps by as much as $1 billion -- and cell phones look like a fair target. He threw out the possibility of proposing bill language "that says there will be no payments for cell phones, period."


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:47am]


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