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Pinellas schools to budget differently next year



Pinellas schools will for the first time give its principals a peek at a number this fall: how much money their school makes. Or rather, for the most part, how much funding each school is taking in under the per-student funding formula. The idea is to make sure schools spend within their means, while making sure other dollars don't go unspent.

At times, Pinellas has spent more than it has in a bucket. The opposite has been true too: The voluntary prekindergarten program had $2.5 million in revenue but only spent $2 million, said Kevin Smith, associate superintendent for finance and business, at a school board workshop Thursday.

The budgeting tweak hopes to make sure spending happens more efficiently. It hasn't been uncommon for Pinellas to spend more than it has, but when that does occur, the school system has to dip into their reserves. And those are "concerningly low," Smith told the school board.

William Corbett, an area superintendent who worked on this with Smith, said the budgeting tweak will help schools move toward more uniform staffing models -- as opposed to a clerk here, an assistant there. 

What we're trying to do this (next) year is wipe the slate clean because over the years different schools get different things and it just gets embedded," Corbett said.

Superintendent Michael Grego said the start-with-what-we-have model would be "a very proactive way of approaching the budget preparation which typically starts in June."

"If we do that then it's not a (matter) of budget reduction or addition, but, let's get our house in order," Grego said.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:55am]


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