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Issues and Voices that Matter January 21, 2010

School Funding Priorities

School Funding Priorities

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Seminole county public schools and Seminole State College receive a portion of their budget from the State of Florida. Local leaders from both institutions are making their case and stressing their funding priorities to state education officials and the local legislative delegation for a new budget to fund a portion of their expenses. In this feature, Central Florida Matters presents an edited version of a recent forum hosted by the League of Women Voters featuring presentations and answers regarding the educators’ funding priorities. Feature length – 28:07


(Produced, reported and edited by Stephen McKenney Steck)

On Tuesday, March 2, the Florida state legislature will convene for its annual 60-day period to determine and debate issues important to you and the people of our state. Issues like crime, education, the environment, and the state budget are debated. The budget is the only bill the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass before adjournment.

According to Sunshine Review – an on-line site that provides information about government – the budget adopted at the start of the current Fiscal year which started in July totaled $65.5 billion dollars. Of that amount, $21.3 billion or 32% was budgeted for public education throughout the state. Yet, during the year, as a result of national and state economic decline, state officials eliminated $466 million in education spending.

Seminole County School Board and Seminole State College receive a portion of their operating budget from the State. Each also had to make corresponding cuts to their budgets.

Officials from the school board and the college are making their budget case and stressing their funding priorities to state education officials and the local legislative delegation for a new budget to fund a portion of their expenses for a period of July 2010 through June 2011.

Those funding priorities became the subject of a Wednesday evening, January 13th, public forum presented by the Seminole County League of Women Voters at Winter Springs High School in front of an audience of more than 65 members of the public.

At the forum, the League impaneled spokespersons from the 2 public school systems to explain and defend the local funding priorities to which they believe the state must be fiscally responsive. The league asked local media to ask questions of the panel. Questions from the audience were also fielded. A moderator facilitated the 90-minute event.

In this feature, Central Florida Matters presents an edited version of the forum featuring only presentations and answers regarding the educators’ stated funding priorities. However, we recommend you visit Central Florida Matters’ companion Website – Heard in Central Florida – for a gavel-to-gavel version of the forum. The full presentation is approximately 1-hour and 20-minutes in length and features additional perspective and remarks from the panel. Look for and click on the Heard in Central Florida green and white logo. At either site, you’ll find pictures taken during the event as well as links to web links providing useful information and context on issues addressed by the panel

The panel in this feature included Seminole County School Board member Dede Schaffner; school superintendent, Dr. Bill Vogel; Seminole County Parent/Teacher Association president Judy Wiant; and Seminole State College vice president and chief financial officer, Joseph A. Sarnovsky. The panel was moderated by Marilyn Crotty, director of University of Central Florida’s Institute of Government.

Extended Interview & Pictures

Click on the picture(s) to enlarge.
Marilyn Crotty (at left), moderator and director of University of Central Florida’s Institute of Government, with Seminole County Public School Board vice chair, Jeanne Morris. (Left to right) Seminole State College vice president and chief financial officer, Joseph A. Sarnovsky; school superintendent, Dr. Bill Vogel; Seminole County School Board member Dede Schaffner; and, Seminole County Parent/Teacher Association president Judy Wiant Desta Horner (at right) co-founder and senior producer, Carroll McKenney Public Media, with Dale Phillips, assistant principal, Winter  Springs High School
Michelle Yoffee, editor, Seminole Chronicle Forum attendees at the Winter Springs High School media center

Additional Feature Information

Resumes and biographical information provided by each panel member:

Charts used by Dr. Vogel in his opening presentation:

Links mentioned and/or provided by Mr. Sarnovsky:

Other useful links:

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