Seminole County Public Schools face a serious budget shortfall. Originally set at $20 million, new revenue declines announced by the state put the amount at $40 million. John Pavelchak, executive director of finance and budget explains the fiscal situation.
Meanwhile, six Seminole County citizens tell us what specific cuts they would recommend to the programs in the schools.
How serious is the problem? Projections for revenue are bleak. Money for the schools from property taxes declined over 13 million dollars last year and is predicted to fall even more in 2012-13. The largest share of the local budget comes from the state but the legislature cut over $500 per pupil this year and with the legislature facing another shortfall of $1.5 billion, even less money may be available from the state government this coming year. Money from the 2009 Stimulus was used in previous years to replace revenue losses but is now gone. Over the last 3 years $91 million has been cut from the Seminole County public schools.
In the face of millions of dollars of revenue reductions, Seminole County public schools must come up with painful cuts in programs and schools. Below is a list of the places where the cuts have been recommended.
Budget Reduction Choices for Seminole Schools
The following items are some of the suggestions for budget reductions to close the $20 million budget gap in the 2012 budget for SCPS.
The School Board has already decided to take these actions
- Close the student museum and environmental studies center.
- Increase student/teacher ratios for high school non-core classes. P.E., art, drama, yearbook, all electives.
- Eliminate middle school and high school athletic and extracurricular salary supplements for assistant coaches by 20%.
- Eliminate high school summer school remedial courses. (Saves $250,000)
- Close additional schools at $1 million per elementary or middle school.
- Sell vacant land and buildings.
- Reduce printing expenses by using on-line communication with parents.
- Reduce reserve fund balance of $25 million from 6% to 4%.
- Raise money by selling advertising on school properties and buses
Additional Proposed Cuts
- Implement “pay to play” for athletics and band transportation.
- Eliminate paraprofessional staff at elementary schools. (i.e., teacher aides)
- Eliminate transportation for cluster schools and magnet schools for out of zone students.
- Implement furloughs for employees on non-student days (teacher work/planning days)
- Share principals and assistant principals between elementary schools.
- Consolidate schools – combine pre-k through 6 and 7 through 12.
- Raise thermostat settings from 77 degrees to 78.
- Eliminate art and music teachers.
- Implement a 4 day school week.
At the school district website there is a place for citizens to make their own suggestions for budget cuts. Here is the link.
Additional Feature Information
Executive Director of Finance and Budget for Seminole County Public Schools.
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