Leon County Schools Will Lose More than 12 Million

By: Jill Chandler Email
By: Jill Chandler Email

Tallahassee, Florida--

Leon County school officials say the more than $12 Million dollars being slashed from their budget equals a scary future for local children.

Leon County Schools Superintendent, Jackie Pons, said, "It's almost like we're stretching a rubber band to see how far we can stretch it."

Rocky Hanna, Principal of Leon High, agrees. Hanna said, "The future is scary, it's very scary."

These were Leon County School officials initial reactions to hearing they'll be dealing with 8% less than last year's budget.

Hanna said, "It makes my stomach hurt to look at what's coming out of the capitol this year and to try and go through ... figure out what bills passed and which bills didn't. We know we're losing money. Again, I'm going to have to lose 6 or 7 teaching positions."

Since Principal Hanna took the job at Leon High, he has lost 20 positions, in just 6 years. Teachers themselves are fearful of what's to come.

Melissa Olson teaches 5th grade at Ruediger. Olson said, "There's the frustration of not being asked ourselves... or the fact that many of our legislators don't come into the classroom to see what it's like on a daily basis."

Leon County Schools, like every school district in Florida, will be operating on more than $500 dollars less for each student..

Jackie Pons said, "If we had the same type funding that we had in 2008, we would have an additional $37 million dollars for the Leon County School system."

Pons, and other educators say they can only give so much, and they're trying not to cut elective courses.

"This is one of the reasons why children get up to go to school everyday, is their love for the fine arts programs. So we're going to protect that every way we can," Pons said.

But Leon County Schools would be in even more fiscal trouble if they complied with class size last year for even some of the elementary classes.

Pons said, "We kept all of our 'ed jobs money', and when it came time to chasing class size, when we got down to the last 130 students in elementary, it would have cost us an additional $5 million dollars. So fiscally we are in a good position, but we will have to make reductions."

Leon County Schools will be holding a community conversation next week to talk about the budget woes.

- May 18th
-6 p.m.
- Aquilina Howell Building

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