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SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

The Pinellas School Board meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the conference hall of the administration building, 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo. The public is invited to attend and can speak to any item on the agenda not involving a hearing on employee discipline by registering five minutes before the item is introduced.

This week, the board will take a final vote on its budget as well as a tax rate increase that will keep additional budget cuts at bay. The proposed new property tax rate of $8.35 for every $1,000 of taxable property value, up from last year's rate of $8.06, is the foundation of a $1.4 billion budget that includes $37.7 million in federal stimulus money.

Additionally, the board will consider:

- Temporarily changing the district's exam exemption policy. Students would qualify for an exam exemption in courses where they maintain an A or B in each of the first, second and third six-week grading periods. The attendance requirement would be dropped.

- Allowing fundamental elementary schools to opt out of "early release" on Wednesdays.

- Suspending for five days without pay a Dunedin High School teacher who was convicted of driving under the influence twice in three years.

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