Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Meeting in Tampa, state Education Board hears both complaints and ideas for saving money

TAMPA — Gathered to discuss school funding, Florida's Board of Education spent much of Tuesday listening to complaints.

Superintendents and teachers' leaders lamented unfunded mandates from the Legislature. A charter school operator implored the board to treat charters as partners. A champion of state-funded preschools asked for better accountability. And there was concern about work conditions.

"Morale is at an all-time low in our districts," said Lee Swift, chairman of the Charlotte County School Board.

Earlier, Hillsborough County superintendent MaryEllen Elia said, "We all know that money will not necessarily improve education. We also know you have to have resources to meet the needs of every student."

Board members looked to Elia and others for ideas to increase efficiencies. They heard several, including cutting the amount of unused sick leave employees get paid at retirement, renegotiating contracts and expanding virtual school.

Within the discussion came pointed questions that might lay the groundwork for debate in the 2012 legislative session.

Board member Gary Chartrand asked if the state should again consider class sizes.

Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan asked if the state should fund education based on course completion rather than enrollment. She raised questions about tenure for community college professors. And she suggested philanthropic organizations might underwrite some programs for at-risk students.

The emphasis on money is necessary, officials said. Legislative actions closed a mounting deficit this year, said Amy Baker, the state's chief economist. But the economy isn't expected to improve much until 2013.

Charter school proponents said their model goes a long way in containing costs. "Everybody within the charter world knows money matters," said Jon Hage, president of Charter Schools USA. "Competition works."

But Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, decried the current climate for teachers: "The idea that you can improve our schools by cutting and consolidating and cracking the whip is a fantasy that is shortchanging our children."

Meeting in Tampa, state Education Board hears both complaints and ideas for saving money 08/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  2. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings
  3. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  5. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.