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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pay raise proposal shrinking for Pasco school employees



While introducing his $1.2 billion budget proposal Tuesday evening, Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning reiterated his support for raises for a fourth consecutive year. He said it reflected his commitment to employees -- something United School Employees of Pasco president Kenny Blankenship thanked him for.

For the first time, though, Browning didn't mention the size of the pay increase he was recommending. To that point, he and others spoke of 3 percent raises, only recently adding the phrase "up to," signaling they might be less.

After the meeting, Browning ended the suspense.

"We're probably going to end up, because of money being as it is, between 2.6 and 2.7 percent," he said. "The board had some serious concerns about using nonrecurring dollars for raises."

Chief finance officer Olga Swinson explained that her team did all it could to cut spending to eliminate a gap between anticipated costs and revenue. But in order to provide a completely balanced budget by Tuesday's public hearing, she said, it had to use some reserves. Board members, who have steadfastly held to maintaining reserves of at least 5 percent, weren't keen on that idea,

Reducing the raise amount slightly eased their concerns.

Swinson stressed that the budget is not final until September, and the board could change the plan any time before that approval. But it now looks like the district has a number to present at the next round of negotiations, when finances are expected to come to the table. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 8:33pm]


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