DeDe Schaffner has been elected Chairman of the Seminole County School Board at a time of declining revenues and increasing services. She discusses the challenges and issues that face the schools during this difficult time. Feature length – 14:54
Seminole County Public Schools are facing a “perfect storm” of fiscal constraints. The proposal for a ½ cent sales tax to take effect in 2012 was defeated by a slim margin in the November election; money from the current local option sales tax will end in 2011; state revenues especially for capital improvements have dried up; property tax revenues are down by over 30%. Considering the budget crisis faced by the state legislature, no relief is in sight from the state education budget.
At the same time, significant additional funds are necessary for the implementation of merit pay for teachers, increased computer facilities for the state-mandated end-of-year exams and the staffing demands of the class size amendment . A “perfect fiscal storm” indeed.
The incoming school board chairman DeDe Schaffner and her colleagues on the board will face this daunting scenario. Ms. Schaffner is particularly concerned about meeting the need for improved technology and repairs to older buildings which are being sustained only on a patch-work basis. Budget hearings will begin early in February and negotiations with the teacher’s association on salaries are gearing up now.
Seminole County Schools are ranked at the highest levels of academic quality in both the state and the nation. And while the school board is committed to maintaining those high standards it will take great effort to make sure every student is afforded the opportunity for a quality education.
Extended Interview & Pictures
DeDe Schaffner and Desta Horner
Seminole County Public Schools Chair
Extended interview (36:25)