Pasco School Board gives initial nod to 2019-20 budget

Final consideration is set for Sept. 17.
Published July 31, 2019|Updated July 31, 2019

With no discussion, the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday offered its unanimous support for a $1.39 billion budget that offers all employees a 3 percent raise and maintains fully paid health insurance.

Revenue backing the spending plan is up 10.4 percent, including 5.3 percent for the general fund that backs primary operations. At the same time, the district’s proposed property tax rate is down 17.8 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, reflecting another year of rising property assessments.

Related: Pasco County school tax rate to shrink as property values climb

Board members have repeatedly asked lawmakers, who set the required local effort, to allow school districts to maintain their tax rates in order to take advantage of the increasing values. The district could offer a larger salary hike as a result, they said.

But lawmakers have refused, saying that would amount to a tax increase they were unwilling to authorize.

The district’s proposed budget also includes a capital projects section. This year’s major projects include completion of renovations at Land O’Lakes High, continuation of an overhaul of Zephyrhills High, construction of Cypress Creek Middle School, and design work leading to eventual construction of wings at Bexley Elementary and Sunlake High, a technical high school near Dade City, and Starkey K-8 school.

Superintendent Kurt Browning reminded the board that the budget remains a work in progress, and could be changed as conditions change.

No residents spoke during the public hearing. A final hearing and vote are scheduled for Sept. 17.

Read the tentative budget here.