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ELIA ON HILLSBOROUGH'S BUDGET: "WE FACE ENORMOUS CHALLENGES."

TAMPA -- Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen's latest budget update for district employees has been published. And it's no surprise: the news is not good.

As we previously reported, she says state funding cuts are 30 percent deeper than expected, morphing from $75 million to $100 million. And one of the only pieces of good budget news -- lower payments by the district into Florida's retirement system -- "comes at the expense of our employees' salaries" since they'll have to contribute 3 percent now.

"I assure you that the School Board and I will do everything we can to honor the priorities expressed by our employees in a survey two years ago: We want to avoid layoffs and furloughs," Elia concludes. "We will continue to stick to our principles and work to reduce the impact on our classrooms, students and our employees. But, make no mistake - there will be an impact."

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