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Cut more at Pasco schools and they'll feel the heat

Overheard in the bleachers at the local high school:

Jim's dad: This team plays like it's back in the Pee-wee league.

Bob's dad: What do you expect? Even though half of them are juniors in high school, it's their first chance at inter-scholastic sports since eighth-grade.

Jim's dad: At least they're out there. Those poor freshman and sophomores look forlorn with no junior varsity team. Too bad, really. They lost their chance to play freshman ball back in 2003. Some of them didn't get much playing time in middle school, either, what with the seventh-grade teams being eliminated and all.

Bob's dad: You notice that when someone does make a competent play, the only shouts come from us parents or acquaintances? There are no cheerleaders to rouse the school spirit.

How about that half time? The place was dead silent. No marching band to take the field.

I didn't notice. I was at the concession stand paying $9.75 for a hot dog and a soda. You can tell the booster club is being asked to finance a lot of stuff these days.

I think this is the third game this season that ended in a 0-0 tie, but at least my kid's social scene is clicking. There are more friends to be made because there are more students in the classroom. Something about using schoolwide averages instead of classroom averages in calculating Class Size Amendment requirements.

It'll probably be an FCAT question next year.

Bobby say anything to you about the teachers being grumpy this year?

Absolutely, but I told him it was to be expected. No raises. Less money for classroom supplies. Little additional training. No field trips to enrich the kids and break the monotony of the classroom.

I meant because the classroom is a little hot. Jimmy said the thermostat keeps getting pushed higher.

By the way, how could there be less money for classroom supplies? Don't teachers get some sort of start of the year supplement for that stuff?

It's called lead money. It's down 21 percent.

What about the regular accounts?

Down again. Schools used to get budgeted at $750 per teacher for stuff like construction paper, glue, lavatory supplies the stuff that keeps the school running. What it gets spent on as at the discretion of the principal.

How much they get now?

This year it will be $560 per teacher.

They should call it lack-of-discretionary spending.

Say, my younger one is a little disappointed. His school isn't going to get renovated this year like we thought.

How come?

The Legislature took some of the local property tax money earmarked for construction and said it had to be spent on operating the schools.

Don't you love it when they call this stuff local option? It's a decision not made locally and there is nothing optional about it.

Well, I'd like to stay and chew the fat, but, since this is an away game, I've got to take Bobby and three of his classmates home. No buses, you know.

I hear you. With 44 percent of the kids from families that qualify for free or reduce-price lunches, and gasoline at $3.60 a gallon, somebody's got to be willing to pitch in.

You guys participating in that sponsorship drive? Trying to raise money to keep the extracurricular activities afloat?

Yes. I already wrote letters asking for contributions from the ostrich-feed industry, stadium luxury box proprietors and strip clubs.

What did they say?

Same as legislators:

No new taxes.

Editors note: The Pasco School District this week is scheduled to release its recommended budget cuts to close a $16-million shortfall. Among the suggestions are cutting out band, cheerleading and non-varsity sports, freezing salaries, eliminating stipends, asking employees to contribute toward benefits, reducing training, saving electricity by raising building temperatures, cutting down on paper use and not filling vacant job positions.

Cut more at Pasco schools and they'll feel the heat 05/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:10pm]
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