Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Drop in Pasco students could bring funding cuts

LAND O'LAKES — A week into the new school year, rumors of continued growth in Pasco County school enrollment appear greatly exaggerated.

And that could cost the district millions.

On Friday, 63,137 students showed up for classes at the district's traditional, alternative and charter schools. That's 250 students fewer than attended on the fifth day of 2007-08, and nearly 1,600 fewer than the state projected when setting budgets.

That spending plan, which already has taken some hits, called for Pasco to grow by 1,387 students.

"I would feel a lot more comfortable if I had 1,000 more kids already," superintendent Heather Fiorentino said.

Fiorentino says she did not expect an enrollment drop this year — but she doesn't expect to reach the state's projection, either.

If the district misses the mark by 1,000 students in October, as looks possible, it would lose about $4.5-million in state money. That would translate into about 78 teaching positions that won't be needed.

"What we have already done because of the projections is, schools that need new teachers have frozen the positions," Fiorentino said.

That move will allow officials to assess whether they need to move teachers from underenrolled schools to those that have higher than expected numbers.

Going by the book

On the negative side, Sanders and Hudson elementary schools were down by about 100 students each and Pasco, River Ridge and Gulf high schools were down by about 150.

On the positive side, Oakstead Elementary and Long Middle were up about 100 students.

"They're doing it by the contract," said United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb. "I certainly would not be okay if they were letting people go, yet hiring people from the outside. They're doing what they have to do. In these tight economic times they'd be foolish if they did anything else."

Pasco's attendance figures follow the trend of surrounding districts.

Hillsborough's traditional school attendance on Friday was down nearly 2,200 students from the same time a year ago. Hernando also reported lower than expected numbers.

Officials guessed that remnants of Tropical Storm Fay might have depressed the attendance.

In some places "it was pouring when the kids were waiting to get on the bus, or at least at the time they would have been waiting to get on the bus," planning director Chris Williams said.

Other factors might include the opening of charter schools and the weakness of the housing market.

Fiorentino figured the School Board could handle the resulting budget cuts by reducing the district's number of teachers. She wasn't optimistic about other pending budget reductions that might come because of declining state tax revenue.

"That would hit programs," she said.

Fiorentino has not yet recommended any spending changes for that expected loss. She said she wanted to see her first round of cuts proposed to the original 2008-09 budget get approved first.

The School Board plans to have its final budget public hearing on Sept. 16.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

by the numbers

250 Fewer students attended on the fifth day this year than last year.

1,387 Number of additional students called for by the spending plan.

1,000 If numbers are off by this many students, the district will lose about $4.5-million in state money.

78 Number of teaching positions that will not be needed if the student numbers are off by 1,000.

Drop in Pasco students could bring funding cuts 08/25/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 7:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: 8 found dead in truck, 20 dire in immigrant smuggling case

    Nation

    SAN ANTONIO — Authorities called to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio overnight found eight people dead and 20 others in dire condition in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer, in what police are calling a horrific case of immigrant smuggling.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene Sunday, July 23, 2017, where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  2. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  3. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table

    Travel

    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers

    Nap

    Walk 6.2 kilometers

    Nap

    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  4. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  5. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.