Friday, September 21, 2018
Education

Pasco School Board considers sharing construction funds with charter schools

LAND O’ LAKES — Despite facing a shortfall for its own construction and maintenance projects, the Pasco County School Board will consider sharing its capital funds tax revenue with some local charter schools.

The issue arose Tuesday as an offshoot of the board’s ongoing contract negotiations with Dayspring Academy, the county’s oldest charter school. Dayspring’s contract expired in June and was extended through Aug. 15. Founder John Legg, a former state senator, said his trustees did not want to further stretch out the deal without an understanding on capital money.

"We’ve got students that need a better facility," Legg told the School Board, saying Dayspring might seek mediation instead. "We just can’t wait another year."

State lawmakers recently required school districts to share their property tax income for buildings and repairs. Pasco was exempted, however, because of its high debt ratio for new schools and renovations.

The law has caveats, though, that could require Pasco to contribute a portion of its revenue in future years, if the Legislature does not fully fund charter school capital needs. For fiscal 2019, the Legislature covered the budget amount.

District administrators said they’d like to get in front of that scenario, if the board wishes, by crafting criteria by which local charter schools could qualify for a share of the tax money.

"We no longer have this single concept that we call education, and there are many more choices available to kids," deputy superintendent Ray Gadd told the board. "So the superintendent and I both have been grappling with this issue of, when you have really great home grown charter schools in your neighborhood, what do you do?"

Gadd asked the board to consider the notion of revenue sharing. Board attorney Dennis Alfonso provided a list of possible criteria, such as requiring the charter school to be open at least five years and to have received a B or better from the state for the most recent two years.

"If the board has a feeling that it is a worthwhile concept to pursue, this would be at least the bones of an infrastructure," Alfonso said.

The board chose not to discuss the subject, instead scheduling a workshop for Sept. 4.

The delay put the conversation after the Aug. 28 primary election, in which two incumbents face challenges. At least one of the hopefuls expressed outrage that the board would consider such an idea.

"I’m sorry, I just don’t believe in giving more money to charter schools," said Brian Staver, who is running against District 1 incumbent Allen Altman.

Altman has said he might back the concept for home-grown charters that intend to keep the money in Pasco County.

The board’s move to explore the idea satisfied Legg, who said he believed his trustees would agree to a 90-day contract extension so the sharing could get a fuller vetting. Ninety days barely helps, he said, because Dayspring can’t take that type of short-term agreement to the bank and secure funding for a project.

Now that the issue is on the calendar, he said, action might follow.

Superintendent Kurt Browning said if the board agrees at its workshop, he anticipated staff could have a full plan worked out within a few weeks.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at [email protected] Follow @jeffsolochek.

Comments
Hillsborough school district releases referendum wish list

Hillsborough school district releases referendum wish list

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District on Friday released a long-awaited, school-by-school list of 1,785 projects to be funded by a proposed half-cent sales tax hike.The list, now on the district website, includes playgrounds for Anderson El...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Two acclaimed authors to speak about water at USF St. Petersburg

Pulitzer Prize winner and University of Florida professor Jack Davis thinks people need to humble themselves more toward water."The water doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the water," he said. "Without water, humanity would not exist, life would not...
Published: 09/21/18
Pinellas education news: college fairs, lectures and more

Pinellas education news: college fairs, lectures and more

Students, parents invited to three upcoming college and career fairsThree events are scheduled over the next two weeks that are designed to help students plan their next steps after leaving the Pinellas County school system. The University of South F...
Published: 09/21/18
Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

TRINITY — Julie Michael stood in the metal bleachers, flute poised at her lips, ready to play the national anthem with the Seven Springs Middle School advanced band.As the band segued into the school fight song, the eighth-grader continued per...
Published: 09/20/18
Romano: We need education solutions not slogans from DeSantis, Gillum

Romano: We need education solutions not slogans from DeSantis, Gillum

And 200,000 third-graders just rolled their eyes.I swear, even they can see through the education proposals offered by gubernatorial candidates Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum this week.Let’s see, the Republican wants more privatization. And the Democ...
Published: 09/20/18

Local rapper encourages elementary students to attend school every day(w/video)

Local rapper Corey Thornton performs original songs on Wednesday Sept. 18, 2019 about the importance of school attendance at Walsingham Elementary School during a school wide assembly. During Attendance Awareness Month, Pinellas County Schools and th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

TAMPA — All summer, while most students were gone, the University of South Florida has been toiling away on a blueprint for the complex merger of the USF System.Its three universities in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota will soon consolidate into o...
Published: 09/19/18
Employee pay dominates Pasco schools budget debate

Employee pay dominates Pasco schools budget debate

LAND O' LAKES — The Pasco County School Board unanimously adopted a $1.26 billion budget Tuesday with a slightly lowered tax rate and funding for new school construction in both east and west Pasco.But the spending item that grabbed most of th...
Published: 09/19/18
Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

After he graduated from a Maryland high school, Rickey Murray had a number of opportunities awaiting him at a number of four-year institutions.He eyed the University of South Florida, applied to Florida International University and considered Virgini...
Published: 09/18/18
School buses, technology updates and teacher recruitment on Hernando schools legislative agenda

School buses, technology updates and teacher recruitment on Hernando schools legislative agenda

BROOKSVILLE — Busing concerns, security technology updates and teacher recruitment efforts could headline the Hernando County School District’s concerns in Tallahassee next year. As the district’s legislative picture for 2019 sha...
Published: 09/18/18