LAND O'LAKES — The Pasco County School Board has decided to use about $2 million in nonrecurring funds to balance its next budget.
Board members didn't want to go that route, and in fact had repeatedly said they preferred to reduce expenses rather than spend money the district didn't have.
But when faced with possible cuts they found distasteful, and a desire to find $3.5 million to pay all employees a bit more, they changed their minds.
"Our goal is not to use any nonrecurring funds," chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said in a meeting Tuesday. "But there are things we want to accomplish."
The board put off telling superintendent Kurt Browning its position on the money two weeks ago, in order to have time to hear public input at four town hall meetings. But the public offered few ideas, Armstrong said, "so at this point we are going to be moving forward."
In past years, the board has approved spending $23 million or more in nonrecurring revenue to cover ongoing costs.
With the proposed amount lower, vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley said, "we are going in the right direction, that's for sure."
Browning said he would not recommend this move if he did not have strong signals that the economy is improving, which could lead to increased revenue in coming years.
"I think we'll be fine," he said.
Earlier in the spring, the board refused to use nonrecurring revenue sources to cover the $5 million associated with keeping a media specialist and literacy coach in every school.
The board is scheduled to have its next budget workshop in early July.