BROOKSVILLE — When superintendent Wayne Alexander talks about a school district of "haves and have-nots," he often points east. In a county with a few shiny magnet schools, Hernando's east-siders have often made do with less.
On Tuesday, principals from Brooksville and Moton elementary schools, Parrott Middle and Hernando High came before the School Board with a wish list of innovative programs.
Mary LeDoux, principal at Brooksville, asked for two extra teachers to instruct all students in Spanish, She said the additions to global studies could give students "another world."
Eastside Elementary wants to bolster its computer technology instruction for all students, with help from the district's new computer leasing program.
"The majority of our students do not have this equipment at home," said principal Toni-Ann Noyes. "So when they get to the secondary level, they'll have the skills that they need so they will flourish."
Principals from Moton, Parrott and Hernando asked for support to teach mass communications and journalism, and expand foreign language offerings in the upper grades.
Such offerings shouldn't be seen as frills or training for a narrow career path, said Moton principal Debi Vermette.
"We have students who lack communication skills, (and a) high language impairment rate," she said. "Communication is a skill that can follow you wherever you go."
They got no argument from board members. But with a $2-million budget shortfall in the offing for next year, there were no promises to fund the new programs — at least until budget talks begin next month.
All told, the proposals would cost around $2-million over five years, with some recurring costs for new teaching positions.
"Are you pretty sure we're going to have the money?" asked board member Jim Malcolm.
"No, sir," Alexander responded. "Our goal next year will be to add as many programs as we possibly can."
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431.