Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

School Board standing pat on taxes

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County property owners won't see their school tax rate rise this year, according to the latest proposal delivered to School Board members late Wednesday.

But they won't see it shrink, either.

The proposed rate of $7.208 per $1,000 of taxable property value remains the same as last year because of a lower-than-expected increase in taxable value. That prompted the state to push the district's "required local effort" higher than projected in the spring.

Back in April, the Department of Education estimated that Pasco's school tax rate for operations would be $4.872 per $1,000 of value. After getting the certified tax rolls, the number rose to $4.969 per $1,000.

Otherwise, property owners would be seeing a small decrease. The district's "basic discretionary effort" is slated to go down, as is the voter-approved debt service millage rate.

School Board members have indicated they will hold the local capital improvement tax rate steady at $1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value, to avoid losing $7-million on top of a $37-million decrease in state funding for school construction.

The capital budget is proposed at $246.5-million, focusing on three priorities — dealing with growth, caring for older buildings and acquiring land for expansion.

"I was pleased that the projects identified in the capital budget are addressing the most serious needs," board member Allen Altman said.

Those include $14.9-million to replace Sanders Elementary, $15.6-million for additions at Pasco High and $7.5-million for additions at Pasco Middle. The plan also contains funding for two new elementary schools (Watergrass and Connerton) and two new high schools (Hudson and Holiday).

Other big projects include complete rehabilitation of the classrooms at Hudson and Cox elementary schools, a new cafeteria at Schrader Elementary, a new roof at River Ridge Middle, and air-conditioning improvements at Zephyrhills High and Calusa Elementary.

Another priority is finding property in the Odessa area for a new elementary school to relieve crowding at Oakstead and Longleaf elementary schools. District officials are negotiating on three separate sites in hopes of landing one.

"We've got high numbers, but things have definitely leveled off," assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said. "So if we can get things going pretty soon, maybe we can handle it."

The district also is continuing to set money aside for a new computer system, something that should improve its business operations significantly.

"The state of the art has changed. We need to get up to speed," board Vice Chairman Frank Parker said.

Board members are scheduled to review the entire budget at a workshop Tuesday, where they expect to discuss priorities not just of the construction budget, but also of the operational side.

Altman said he has asked for additional information on driver's education, appropriate funding for restructuring at Hudson and Cox, and the possibility of offering the International Baccalaureate program at an east Pasco high school, among other issues. Other board members were scheduled to meet with superintendent Heather Fiorentino this week and next to discuss their priorities, as well.

"When we get back together, they're supposed to have information and details about all this stuff," Altman said.

Parker said the board would like to have a lower tax rate, but it must deal with reality.

"We're growing. We're not staying the same. So it's difficult to stay where we were," he said. With the state contributing less than the local districts for the first time in decades, "it's a rough go."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

>>fast facts

Want to learn more?

The Pasco School Board will have a budget workshop at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. July 29. The meetings take place at 7205 Land O'Lakes Boulevard, Building 3.

School Board standing pat on taxes 07/17/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 3:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Datz to open in St. Petersburg, join the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art

    Food & Dining

    Now Datz news.

    Get it? Tuesday, Datz, the longtime line-out-the-door, oft-Instagrammed and -Yelped Tampa stalwart known for shock-and-awe sandwiches and oh-so-much bacon, announced it is coming to St. Petersburg.

    Lunch guest eat at Datz Deli at 2616 South MacDill Ave. in Tampa. Times files.
  3. Republican leader McConnell pulls the plug on latest Obamacare repeal effort

    WASHINGTON --- Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday officially pulled the plug on the latest plan to repeal the health care law, telling senators they will not vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in the last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, after the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos was approved by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie in a historic vote. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) DCSA119
  4. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.