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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

School Board Budget Cut Workshop

The school board will be meeting today (Thursday) in a workshop at 10am in the 6th floor conference room at the School Board building.  The School Superintendent will be presenting proposed options to meet the  upcoming budget deficit which is projected to be somewhere around $139 million.  The Superintendent outlined prioritized tiers of potential cuts and changes to the education program to the Duval County Council PTA/PTSA on Tuesday of this week and it wasn’t very pretty. 

As we have already reported here, one change being considered is to do away with block scheduling and the 8 credit program and return to a 7 credit program.  [Also see FCN story] As we also previously reported, Mr. Pratt Dannals was the original proponent and one of the biggest block schedule supporters when Duval County schools changed to block scheduling approximately 10 years ago.  So it is interesting to see him flip-flop on an issue that used to be so near and dear to his heart – and was good for Duval County’s students and education system as well.  This change would save the school system approximately $10 million dollars as they would be able to do away with teachers no longer needed.  Depending on how layoffs proceed, that could result in a longer tenured PE teacher staying with the school system and filling the former position of a shorter tenured history teacher who was let go in the layoff.  That couldn’t be a good for our students now, could it?

One of the other top tier options is to do away with bus transportation currently provided to magnet schools.  The school board will also look at changing the distance you must live from the school to be eligible for bus transportation from 1 1/2 miles to 2 miles, which would result in an additional savings of approximately $500,000. [Times Union]

And, as we also previously reported here, the school system is considering the following cuts as well:

ON THE BLOCK
Some of the items being considered as cuts to Duval County Public Schools’ budget for the next fiscal year:
Reducing arts, music, guidance, P.E. and media staff: $27 million
Reducing employees’ hours: $20 million
Adjusting scheduling for high schools and middle schools: $10 million
Reducing health care benefits: $9 million
No raises or step raises: $8.8 million
Reducing AP classes in schools: $5 million
Immediate hiring freeze: $1 million
Stop televising board meetings: $315,000
Close the Marine Science Center: $180,000
Source: Duval County Public Schools [Times Union]

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