The budget news just keeps getting worse for Florida education. Last week, The Gradebook reported that the long-anticipated cut in revenues to Florida school districts for this fiscal year will be $355.2-million. What that means: Remember the budget your school district approved over the summer? Forget about it. It was based on the belief that the district would get a certain amount of revenue. Now, that figure will be far less than expected -- $14.4-million less in Pinellas, for example.
By the end of last week, however, word came that the revenue decline will be even more severe. Lanse Johansen, the chief business officer for Pinellas schools, tells the School Board in a memo that he has learned of an additional cut of about $7-million in March.
Again, we're not talking about next year's budget. It's this year's already approved budget. Next year's budget, according to Johansen, will need to be cut by at least $40-million, Johansen says, not the $36-million originally envisioned. All of this assumes there will be no raises for district employees this year or next, he says.
"I am sorry to be the bearer of such bad news," Johansen wrote, "but it is clear that we still have another 18 months or so before we can expect any major economic recovery for our state funding system."
The budget will be on the agenda when the School Board meets in a workshop tomorrow.