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Will they or won't they? Pasco School Board to decide tax rate hike tonight



us-quarter.jpgTonight the Pasco School Board takes up the question facing school districts all around Florida: Should  property owners pay 25 cents more per $1,000 of assessed value to help cover the district's "critical" operating needs?

District officials say yes. The added tax would raise close to $5.5 million, they explain, helping to offset an expected budget shortfall of $28 million that already is being closed by proposed furloughs, layoffs and altered employee benefits. A majority of districts have adopted the tax, however reluctantly.

So far in Pasco, though, board members have not revealed whether the tax will get the supermajority four votes it needs.

Kathryn Starkey has signaled her opposition, while Frank Parker and Cathi Martin have shown their support. Chairman Allen Altman and vice chairwoman Joanne Hurley, however, made abundantly clear a week ago that their vote to put the tax on the budget ad and the November ballot did not mean they would necessarily vote to impose the amount in the budget.

Often, the public does not come to speak out on the school district budget. (The hearing is at 6 p.m. tonight, by the way, at the district HQ in Land O'Lakes.) Any advice for the board leading up to the session? Are taxes already too high? Is this a price you're willing to pay for the good of the schools and the students and employees? Let's hear it.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:24am]


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