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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Waiting for the numbers



Sure, they're concerned about the latest budget numbers coming out of Tallahassee. But area school district leaders aren't sounding the alarms as loudly as Miami-Dade superintendent Rudy Crew, who has suggested he might have to lay off hundreds of workers to balance the ledger sheet.

"We've planned for reductions," Hillsborough school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe told the Gradebook. The administration is monitoring the Legislature, but "we don't anticipate laying off anyone."

The message was much the same from Pinellas and Pasco counties.

"Early in the year we anticipated the revenue cuts," Pinellas spokeswoman Andrea Zahn said.

The first round of cuts - $4.5-million - came from department budgets. The next round - an expected $5-million more - will come from reserves. "So we do not anticipate any layoffs," Zahn said.

Heather_fiorentino_7529 Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino (left) said she and her finance team are paying close attention to the reports coming from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and keeping tabs on the State Board of Administration, which handles some of the district's funds, too.

The news might seem dire, Fiorentino told the Gradebook. But lawmakers have to fully fund the class-size amendment, she said, and it does no good to predict how bad things might be until the actual numbers are in hand.

"Nothing scares me until the gavel goes down," said Fiorentino, a former state House member.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:34am]


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