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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school officials fear funding implications of virtual bill

While poring over the aftermath of Florida's 2013 legislative session, Pasco school district officials found a detail in HB 7029 that they're hoping wasn't supposed to be there.

Lawmakers used the bill to create what some are calling a "level playing field" for all online course providers, essentially stripping away the preferred status that Florida Virtual School has enjoyed for years. But somewhere along the way, Pasco administrators say, the legislation - which is awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature - took a big bite out of their funding, too.

In their interpretation, the bill's cap on student funding would cut districts' allocations for class size reduction, potentially costing the public schools millions. In Pasco's specific case, the finance team has estimated the change would translate into 501 FTE's, or about $3.4 million.

The district has brought its concerns to state officials, seeking a resolution through rule making if the provision gets that far. Its primary objective is to ensure that if a student is sitting in a public school for a full class day, the district doesn't lose its share of class size funding simply because that same student is also taking virtual courses after school and their funding is capped.

The discussion is in its infancy. We'll bring you more as we learn more.

[Last modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:48am]


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