Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cut elementary science fair? No way, says school board

BROOKSVILLE — Dollars are scarce this summer as the Hernando County School Board grapples with a $2-million budget shortfall. But some things are untouchable.

Like the science fair.

Board members reacted with surprise Thursday to news that the all-county elementary science fair had slipped out of the district's latest budget proposal. In a general fund projected at nearly $170-million for next year, the fair would set Hernando County schools back a mere $2,400.

And a majority said they'd vote to put the money back.

"I think it's very important to our children," said board member Pat Fagan. "It's been a success in the past, and I expect it to be a success in the future. We need to find the money somewhere else."

District officials said schools had requested $19,150 to pay for buses, awards and stipends for fair coordinators at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The secondary programs are safe, but the $2,400 elementary portion isn't in the budget proposal scheduled to be discussed at a Tuesday board workshop.

"That's something we don't want to cut," said member Dianne Bonfield.

Children put extra work into the fair trying to win at the district level and go on to the state competition, she added. "They do it with the hope of winning or getting recognition. How can we have someone go to the state championship if we don't have a district competition?"

Member Jim Malcolm said the district had made a name for itself statewide by holding such events in every school, right down to the early elementary grades. Parents and local business leaders often help to judge the competitions and leave excited about the children's progress in science.

"I've been told we have more participation per capita than any other district in the state," he said. "If you start them early, you can't help but spawn an interest. $2,400? You've got to be kidding."

In an interview Thursday, superintendent Wayne Alexander initially described the move as a tentative cut that might be necessary to balance the district budget.

"It's not like you've totally wiped out science fairs at the elementary level," he said, describing the school-based fairs that would continue. "We're taking a look at each and every component and each and every dollar."

But when he learned how much it would cost to keep those demonstrations of spewing volcanoes and homemade robots going for another year, he said it was "highly likely" the fair would be reinstated in the budget.

"It's small change for a big bang," Alexander said.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Cut elementary science fair? No way, says school board 06/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.