Superintendents in Florida Meet to Discuss Budget Woes

By: Tara Herrschaft Email
By: Tara Herrschaft Email

One by one school superintendents from both small and large districts spoke out about the class size amendment and how the cuts are impacting their district.

"We have a lot of issues with transportation. My assistant superintendent last week had to drive a bus simply because we didn't have a bus driver. So those are things that we face everyday," said Martha Butler, the Superintendent for Hamilton County schools.

This is the second round-table event held in Leon County. Superintendents who are on the front line of this budget crisis are encouraged to come and share their ideas.

"We can compare what we're looking at, what we're trying to do, and sharing of ideas and communicating with each other is very important during these times," said Jackie Pons, the Superintendent for Leon County.

Legislators listened intently and jotted down notes as school leaders begged for no more cuts.

"Cuts are fine but we've done enough. Now we need to look at the revenue side and prioritize," said Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Florida.

"That means maybe even looking at increasing the sales tax by a penny for the money to go directly to education," said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Florida.

And many of the representatives agree that giving school districts flexibility with class size amendment and the budget is crucial.

"It's all about what can we safeguard? What can we perhaps postpone or partially fund and not affect the student. I think everyone's conversation needs to center on how do we protect that classroom," said Rep. Marti Coley, R-Florida.

Superintendents encouraged the representatives to ask legislation about their plan for stimulus money now and a year from now. While the financial crisis is bad, some are worried for years down the road when the stimulus money is gone.


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