LAND O'LAKES — After months of discussion, the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday gave initial approval to a $1.05 billion budget that would increase taxes minimally.
The owner of a $125,000 home with a homestead exemption would pay an added $1.60 in property taxes for schools under the proposal. Board member Allen Altman noted that the amount seemed small, but to not impose the increase would cost the district $9 million in state funding.
That's an amount the district could ill afford, officials said, in that they already had to cut 265 jobs, temporarily close two schools, and dip into reserves by $4.3 million to balance the budget while providing raises for all employees.
Only one speaker, representing the employees bargaining unit, spoke on the budget proposal. Union vice president Kenny Blankenship asked that the board create a contingency plan, noting that some items require negotiations before becoming reality.
"We will continue to refine this budget between now and Sept. 17," the final budget hearing, superintendent Kurt Browning said.