How would you cut the budget?
Do you think you know where the Pinellas County School District can cut or save enough money to meet a projected $26 million budget hole next year? Well let 'er rip. The district communications office has set up two online forums — one for the community, and one for the staff — to solicit suggestions. (Some ideas, like cutting arterial bus service for non-magnet students and putting administrators on 11‑month contracts, are already on the table. So are furloughs.)
You can not only post your suggestions on the community site, but also comment on others'. To get there, go to the district website, pcsb.org, and click on the "Community Budget Forum" link in the box that says "PCS News."
The forum is open through Wednesday.
Struggling schools get teacher hiring help
The School Board last week voted 6-0 to approve a legal agreement with the teachers union that will allow principals in 15 struggling schools to cast a wider net when hiring teachers during the transfer process.
Among other changes, those principals will be able to hire new teachers, as well as those on temporary contract or from outside the district, before other schools get a chance to interview them (assuming those teachers want to work at their schools). They will also be able to reject teachers who are involuntarily transferred out of other schools.
The schools at issue include Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs and Lakewood high schools — all on the state's list of lowest-performing schools — and four middle schools that feed them: John Hopkins, Azalea, Bay Point and Pinellas Park.
Ron Matus, Times staff writer
Learn about Virtual Instruction Program
The district is hosting a Virtual School Discovery Night on Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the conference hall of the district's administration building, 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo. Teachers, administrators and parents will be on hand to answer questions about Pinellas County schools' full-time K-12 Virtual Instruction Program. For more information, call Sarah Truelson at (727) 588-6534.
Free resource fair for refugees, immigrants
The district will hold a resource fair for refugee and immigrant families Tuesday. Topics include job placement and resumes, financial literacy, legal and citizenship issues, health services for uninsured, English classes for adults, technical programs and college opportunities. The free fair is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive. Interpreters will be provided. For information, call (727) 588-6543. For interpretation, call Marlene Ullmann at (727) 545-6400, ext. 2012.