Class size penalties could get expensive
Pasco County schools' failure to meet the state's class size requirements could cost the district millions. "We are showing a class size penalty of $4.6 million," chief financial officer Olga Swinson told the School Board on Tuesday evening. That amount could be reduced by 75 percent, to about $1.1 million, if the district successfully implements a plan to comply with the rules next academic year. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino told the board that the district put student needs first in setting class size goals while keeping the budget balanced. "It is an extreme challenge," added assistant superintendent David Scanga. "Even right up to last Friday we were still moving children to try to minimize the penalty. But it creates something that is not good practice. It creates trauma." District leaders continued to support class size limits measured as a schoolwide average.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Deal will keep Chasco in town
City Council approved a sponsorship Tuesday night for up to $40,000 in city services for next year's Chasco Fiesta, cementing plans to keep the 11-day festival in downtown New Port Richey. Earlier this year the city said it could not continue absorbing all of the costs for the police, paramedics, parks and utility workers who support special events. The city kicked in more than $80,000 toward the last Chasco Fiesta. Chasco planners had lined up an alternate site outside the city if the city pulled the plug on all funding. There still may be more debate to come over future Chasco events, however. Council member Bob Langford noted he didn't believe it was government's role to ensure the success of special events. "The events do need to carry their own way," agreed Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe.
County GOP chief on Swiftmud board
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday appointed Pasco County Republican Party chairman Randy Maggard to the Southwest Florida Water Management District's governing board. Maggard serves as vice president of Sonny's Discount Appliances Inc. He succeeds succeed Ronald E. Oakley, and his term ends March 1, 2015. Maggard was a member of the Coastal Rivers Basin Board from 2004 to 2010, including serving as vice chairman. The governing board sets policy for the district, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west central Florida.