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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Looking for Answers to the Schools’ $112 Million Budget Crisis

Our school leaders and the Duval Delegation members met yesterday at the Schultz Center, but they don’t appear to be any closer to resolving the school budget crisis than they were before the meeting, in part because no one seems to be able to get a handle on the actual amount of state revenues that will be available for budgeting purposes.

In anticipation of proposed budget cuts, now projected to be $112 million (the worst funding shortfall in 40 years), the Superintendent has come up with a prioritized list of possible budget cutting measures.  Here are the top ten cost cutting ideas (which would save the school system just over $22 million):
1. Impose central management of funds & close dormant purchase orders – $5.5 million
2. Impose an immediate hiring freeze – $1.5 million
3. Potential savings via ACE Initiative from School Consolidation – $700,000
4. Revised delivery methods for warehouse, print shop, textbooks – $500,000
5. Revised delivery methods & level of service Security Operations – $385,000
6. Televised Board Meetings – $315,000
7. District wide Energy Savings – $250,000
8. Restructure Debit Health Card and Flex Spending (requires contract negotiations) – $4 million
9. Reduction of Health Care Benefits Phase I (requires contract negotiations) – $4.1 million
10. Transportation savings via ACE Initiative – $4.8 million

Click here for the Superintendent’s entire proposed and prioritized budget cutting measures.

The Duval County School system has also begun a series of public meetings in the community on the budget crisis.  A meeting was held last night at Wolfson High School.  The remainder of the community meetings begin at 6pm and are scheduled as follows:

Tues., Feb. 24, Ribault High, 3701 Winton Dr., Jacksonville  
Wed., Feb. 25, Ed White High, 1700 Old Middleburg Rd., Jacksonville
Thurs., March 5, Sandalwood High, 2750 John Prom Blvd., Jacksonville

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8 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Not Generous Gary says:

    I have tried to bring insurance costs at the school board to light and am making no progress. Being retired military I do not need the benefit of medical insurance. I have showed the school board that they would save over $5,000 per year, just on me. I work with 12 school board employees and there are three of us that fall into the same situation. I would guess that there are several hundred school board employees that meet this criteria. I have been given the run around by the school board about how the insurance company lowers the rates because they figure my not using them into there cost. I am sure that there are insurance companies that would not use me in their price and be glad to have an account with, my guess, 8,000 or more clients in it. I have been told that I can not be excluded due to the aforementioned reason of me being contractually figured as a non-user. I feel that this needs to be looked into. Think about all the school systems statewide that this would apply to. Then look at city, county and state employees. The insurance companies make enough off of us, without giving them this bonus. Or is it the unions? Am I the only person that feels this way?

  2. gatorblue says:

    I guess I’m wondering if we are ever going to see any concessions from the District’s management. Let’s not forget that the Duval County Superintendent earns a salary in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Has anyone looked at the non-union upper management of the school board in regards to their salaries? Would they all be willing to take a 10% cut like the cuts they are applying to the classrooms? I’m not talking about teachers…I’m talking about Administration.

  3. Where is all the lottery money that they told us was going to fund education when we voted for it?

    What one generation tolerates, the next embraces. Our tolerance and silence has given silent permission for morality and common sense to be abdicated!

  4. gatorblue says:

    One other thing…perhaps someone can cover this at some point….in a day of YouTube and podcasts, does it really cost $315,000 to deliver televised Board Meetings? Couldn’t they stick a webcam at the back of the room at broadcast them for free? Is this just a way to cut the public out of the process?

  5. John Gault says:

    Get rid of the SKYWAY EXPRESS to nowhere,sell the school board riverfront building and use my money more wisely!

  6. Frank Drebin says:

    Here are some suggestions…..

    1) Slash the Superintendents salary. If a 30k salary is good enough for all of the teachers, it is good enough for him.

    2) Get rid of his $100k secretary. He can answer his own phone.

    3) Get rid of all the Vice-Principals. What do they do??? Are they there in case the Principal dies??

    4) Stop cutting music and art. Cut the football program. I guarantee you people will come up with all sorts of money once that happens.

    5) Stop changing the web site. Education Central, Dreams Begin Here, Duval schools. How much money was wasted there. Pick one ad stay with it.

    6) Slash school board salaries. Pay them part time wages for a part time job. You have a past mayor and a former state legislator on there. I am sure they will survive. No more breast feeding off the government teet.

    7) I also think that for every 50 teachers they think they need to lay off, they need to get rid of a school board member.

  7. Let Teachers Teach says:

    to add to Frank’s suggestions:

    8. Cut administration positions before any teaching positions are cut. There are 25 positions on the leadership team alone; these people are not teaching; they are expendable.

    9. Make the school board positions unpaid positions.

    10. Let teachers teach; cut the paperwork they have to do (imagine the administration that could be reduced).

    11. Cap administrative salaries; no one who is outside of the classroom should make double (or more) an average teacher’s salary.

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