School district braces for Millions more in budget cuts
As if the looming stimulus cliff wasn't enough of a budget cut for the Pinellas school district ($37.7 million down to start 2011-12) and the district hadn't already cut $104 million from its budget in the past four years, now it looks like Pinellas will have to cut $8.8 million to $12.6 million in its 2010-11 budget to meet the latest legislative budget projections.
According to the latest district figures, Pinellas will be down $20.8 million under the House version of the budget or $17 million under the Senate version. Since the district has already accounted for $8.2 million to deal with declining enrollment, the actual cuts at this stage look to be either $12.6 million or $8.8 million. (This assumes that the School Board again approves the optional quarter-mill hike in property taxes, which will generate $15.2 million.)
All this is subject to change as the Legislature continues wrangling. No word yet on how the district may be planning to deal with the shortfall.
New Facebook page rails against arterial bus stops, seeks videos of hazards
Arterial bus stops, an issue in Pinellas since the beginning of the school year, have inspired a new Facebook page.
The organizers say they're looking for videos that show safety hazards at arterial stops so they can "take the evidence before the Pinellas County School Board for review."
"Enough is enough!" the site creator, Shannon Irvin, says. "I realize we have all been affected by the recession. As many others do, I understand that over the past few years government budget cuts across the board were and are necessary to stabilize our economy. However, I have a major problem when budget cuts compromise the safety of the students! This is what happened when the Pinellas County School Board transportation budget was cut, resulting in the plan for 'arterial busing.' "
To see the page, go to tinyurl.com/y29uddb.
Bravo to these creative teens
The following Pinellas County high school students were winners in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the 87-year-old national program that recognizes outstanding creative teenagers and offers scholarship opportunities: Madeline Job, Palm Harbor University; Georgia Hourdas, Tarpon Springs High; Albert McCoy, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School; Ji Min Noh, Palm Harbor University; Regina Clark, Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School; Arianna Dubauskas, St. Petersburg High; Joseph Quartetti, St. Petersburg High; and Cameron Sewell, Northeast High. The students will be honored June 9 at a gala at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Times staff writer Ron Matus contributed to this report.