Friday, April 20, 2018
Education

Mystery 'Item 1' and 'Item 2' on Pasco schools bargaining table

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning has released his latest proposal to cut the district's spending by $19.6 million next year. The biggest single item remains his "Plan B" of deleting the media specialists, literacy coaches and instructional technology specialists from the schools, then placing one literacy-media-technology specialist at each campus. He also proposes to cut back teaching, secretarial and administrative positions in special needs and English-as-a-second-language programs, as well as positions related to class size compliance and temporary closures at Shady Hills and Quail Hollow elementary schools.

The biggest new items on the list are lacking in detail, and that's by district design. They're called "Item 1" and "Item 2," and are expected to save $2.6 million. But they're subject to contract negotiations, and the administration has not yet revealed them to the United School Employees of Pasco at the bargaining table. School Board members have talked about them only in executive session.

Assistant superintendent Ray Gadd wouldn't offer many details, saying the issues would be worked out in bargaining, which is expected to end well before the formal budget adoption in September. If Item 1 and 2 aren't acceptable in contract talks, he said, the district has more savings ideas it can tap into.

"These are the ones we think make the most make the most sense and have the least amount of impact on employees and their wallets," Gadd said.

Also new on the list are $300,000 to be set aside from the district's $1.3 million media materials funds, $1 million in leftover funds carried over from 2012-13, $1.08 million from the county related to infrastructure improvements, and another $530,000 in district allocation reductions.

The School Board is scheduled to discuss the budget cuts on Tuesday.

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