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School Budget to Be Cut By Two Percent

November 13th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Newly elected school superintendents and school board members are in Orlando today, learning to do their jobs. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, one of their first jobs will be figuring out how to do more with less.

On December 10th, the state will send checks to operate local schools. The problem? The checks will be almost two percent less than expected. The Department of Education sent notices last week the cuts would be coming.

What it works out to be is that state funds, 1.93 percent will be held back, Dept. of Education spokesman Tom Butler said. This was something that was planned for back in June. The commissioner announced to the districts, so the planning was in place. Its just now, we have to go ahead and make sure that it happens.

State wide, the school cuts will total 355 million. How each district absorbs the loss will be a local decision. Teachers could he fired, bus stops or after school programs eliminated.

The school budget situation is so bleak, Florida school boards are talking about suing the state, trying to force it to meet its constitutional obligation.

Article 9 of the state constitution calls a high quality education the paramount duty of the state. The Florida Education Association says the only way that duty can be met is by increasing revenues.

A one-time, three-year sales-tax increase dedicated to education, would help get us over the hump, Mark Pudlow with the Florida Education Association.

Other revenue raising ideas include collecting taxes already owed, such as on internet purchases or on closing corporate tax loopholes. But so far, state leadership has no interest in raising taxes.

Posted in Education, Legislature, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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