LAND O'LAKES — Without comment, the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday adopted its 2011-2012 budget of $1.05 billion, with a tax rate of $7.644 per $1,000 in taxable property value. That's slightly lower than last year's rate because voters did not approve renewal of a quarter-mill critical needs local tax. The owner of a $125,000 home with a homestead exemption would see a tax bill decrease of $12.30.
The budget is balanced after layoffs and furloughs to cover a revenue shortfall of close to $60 million.
Only one speaker, teacher Pat Connolly, commented during the public hearing. He lamented the balancing act, saying, "I am profoundly disappointed and grieved by the board's decision to balance the budget on the back of the employees."
He noted that the district has found money to put up new signs at the district office and at Land O'Lakes High School.
"When we say we need more money, and we really do, he (the taxpayer) thinks of those signs," and figures the district has enough, he said.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said setting the budget was harder than ever before, as tax revenue continued to shrink.
"We had to work with staff like we never had to before," she said.
The board also approved its five-year capital projects plan.