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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco School Board seeks tiny tax increase for 2013-14



After months of preparation, the Pasco School Board is poised to begin adoption next week of its 2013-14 budget that includes nearly $26 million in spending reductions, to cope with a cost increases and a decision to cut back on the use of nonrecurring revenue sources to cover continuing expenses.

The end result is a budget that's balanced, with a cushion of $79,070 (about what it costs to hire one or two people, depending on jobs), and a slight tax increase of 1.6 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.

CFO Olga Swinson cautioned the board at a recent workshop that the plan depends on the district moving forward with all of the proposed cuts, fund shifts and other ideas discussed over the past several weeks. Those include everything from a change in media center staffing (now underway) to newly approved bell schedules and related bus route adjustments. Chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong noted that the board still lacks details about two items priced out at $2.64 million, which the district has labeled as Item #1 and Item #2.

Amstrong said that "in the spirit of transparency" she wanted more specifics to explain to the public. Superintendent Kurt Browning said that he would provide more information after the items are placed on the negotiating table, signaling he did not want to show the district's bargaining strategy ahead of time. However, he committed to having the explanation available well before the board's final budget adoption in September.

It's likely, Browning said, that Items 1 and 2 will be presented in contract talks some time in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the board's first budget public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday. See the agenda items here.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:09pm]


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