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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  • by state saves counties pay ! Location: smoke land on May 10, 2011 at 01:31 PM
    Just now figuring it out ? the state cuts its budget and the counties and cities pick up the slack. thanks rick
  • by Oz Location: Tallahassee on May 10, 2011 at 08:39 AM
    What amazes me is that people do not see the value that America as a whole places on education. Just like many on this post that see education cuts as a good thing just because they perceive 'it' as waste because this is what some politician is telling them is a sure signature of the stupidity that is bleeding America. The only people that are sacrificing in this scenario are the common, hard working Americans. All of these cuts that were placed in the budget were done at the expense of saving big corporations and namely the wealthiest Floridians from paying their fair share of taxes. Let me educate some of you on this post to the fact that in this country 5% of the people control 90%-95% of the wealth. Now anyone that has had any class in their lifetime that deals with math would have the common sense to know that these 5% should be paying the bulk of the taxes because they control the bulk of the wealth. I guarantee you that none of you on this post are a part of the 5%, yet you defend the concept of 'waste' that is pushed by the Tea Party. Wake up America, the wealthiest people in this country because of pure greed are bleeding the common people dry and they are doing this by using such knit-wits that get on this post speaking of 'waste'. However, these same knit-wits don't have a dime to their name and have nothing to gain by taxes being reduced for the wealthiest Americans. These Americans lack proper schooling, and everything they believe in is based on emotion, not reasoning. People such as Governor Scott uses commoners such as these to further his own agenda while at the same time protecting and building his wealth. All I can say is wake up America. The writing is on the wall, and we need the schools to teach us how to read it.
  • by if Location: nf on May 10, 2011 at 07:27 AM
    all the complaints are from public schools,the private schools get less pay,benefits,and staff,no big district offices to hide people thats not needed in and they don't spend all day posting on this site about how bad it is.
    • reply
      by Thom on May 10, 2011 at 09:31 AM in reply to if
      "IF" you only had a brain ... you would see how ignorant and short-sighted your post and position are.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 10, 2011 at 06:50 PM in reply to if
      Private schools also get two to three times the money per student, and have tiny class sizes. Students pay for their books, and the private schools can drop a kid at any time, for any reason.
  • by Waste Location: Tallahassee on May 10, 2011 at 07:01 AM
    Maybe we could sell the Turtle Tunnel and use that money to fund education.
    • reply
      by truth on May 10, 2011 at 07:43 AM in reply to Waste
      waste -great post but now they have to fund education to teach turtles how to read the directions to the tunnel,they are still crossing the road.planning like this makes us great don't you think.
  • by Lots of Reasons Why on May 10, 2011 at 06:33 AM
    Franklin - a simple google search gives you your first answer as the top return. An independent learner (one who does well in a larger class size) wouldn't need to be told that.) See: http://www.fldoe.org/classsize/ Sure we had larger class sizes, less buildings. But we also had better teachers, less in terms of technology demands, and less in terms of expectations - only a portion of any graduating class was seeking higher or continued education. Today students have more to learn and less certainty about what they are going to do in their future. We also have a lot more people in school. That means MORE mediocre or under-prepared students, who need more resources and are less independent (ie, they need more teacher time). That is the reason behind a smaller class size. To improve the educational environment for those lower-performing students. That's good for everyone actually but it's really to help lower performing students.
  • by Franklin Thompson Location: Tallahassee on May 10, 2011 at 05:27 AM
    1. Can anyone tell me what the maximum number of students is which will meet the standards of the Florida Constitution's 'class size amendment'? (I really do want to know) 2. Go back 50 years at the classroom pictures which were taken of you and your classmates in elementary school and count heads. Does the number of students exceed current Constitutional standards? Probably does. 3. When I was in high school at Leon High (1963-1966) there were only three grades of students (10-12) and more students were in those three grades than when my Daughter was at Leon in 1993,(which had four grades (9-12)and we had about two thirds of the building space that is currently at Leon High. What's the problem now? (not just at Leon) 4. I don't think we have a class size problem.
    • reply
      by in my experience on May 10, 2011 at 05:57 AM in reply to Franklin Thompson
      that is simply not factual. In the few large classes i had, the teachers had assistants. Class size is a problem, especially now that the teachers are compensated based on an exam. You could give them 100 kids if they didn't have to make every kid pass. Your post is in need of serious context.
    • reply
      by Who r U to judge on May 10, 2011 at 06:30 AM in reply to Franklin Thompson
      Franklin again I am responding to your negative messages.. What's wrong are you a retired double dipper who is now bored and casting stones? Really you are not in tune with much going..Yes class sizes are a problem..Who cares what happened 50 years ago because for one the criteria was different, parents were more invovled, and Lucifer was not the Governor..So if you took some time out your busy hectic schedule and mentored or even just volunteered for a day with LCS you would see the difference between now and 50 years ago.. Times ain't simple but people are still thinking simple...Your message is not reality and you speaking this gives the wrong message so please do some research or get invovled before you speak on .. Jackie Pons is an awesome administrator just as he was an awesome teacher and coach at Rickards he has nothing but the best intentions for OUR kids and I know he will do whatever it takes to keep them OUR number one priority!!! Blessings!
    • reply
      by Lots of Reasons Why on May 10, 2011 at 06:36 AM in reply to Franklin Thompson
      Forgot this one - how many high schools did Leon County have for those 3 grades of students in the 60's? You'll have to look at total enrollment in the county, by grade, if you want to make accurate comparisons.
  • by Join the rest of us on May 10, 2011 at 05:25 AM
    It only makes sense! Public funds are down just like private funds. Everyone needs to streamline and look at ways to be more efficient. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to get it to happen. Don't pout! Find a way to persevere!
  • by the Shame of it Location: TLH on May 10, 2011 at 05:24 AM
    No principals or administrators ever permantely retires from LCSB. What happens is they do there DROP time,then a position is created so they may return at a very high salary or they are hired as consultants, Public info check it out. The amount of temp service workers that we also hire to work in position they say are not being filled with a permanent worker. It is a shame at the waste within this district due to large salaries of friends of the upper management team.
    • reply
      by Must be a LCSB Employee on May 10, 2011 at 06:31 AM in reply to the Shame of it
      Well, you are wasting time on the clock responding.. So what gives.. What are you doing to change things??
  • by Anonymous on May 9, 2011 at 10:34 PM
    The LCSB has been in trouble money wise since the 2006-2007 school year. All non teachers had to fill out question-ares stating the importance of their job and how it effects the school. The next year 07-08 trouble really began, skipping pay checks and major cuts wear adverted, but all faculty and staff wear warned that it is going to be turbulent in the next several years. Glad I got of out the system that year. First hand experience in that system: LCSB really isn't that bad they are doing the best they can in these challenging economical times. Quite a few surrounding counties are doing WAY worse. It is nice to have a leader who is fighting to keep Art programs. Good Art programs=Graduation rates and overall student morale is higher. Cut them, I guarantee you that will drop.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 10, 2011 at 05:22 AM in reply to
      how was you ever in the school system. the word you are looking for in your comment is "were" now Wear. and from your comment, sounds like you think the arts are more important than the basic classes, such as reading, writing, and math. We are really glad that you got out of the system, now maybe the kids can learn the right way
      • reply
        by are you the pot or the kettle? on May 10, 2011 at 05:53 AM in reply to
        "how was you", "now Wear". People who live in glass houses...
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 10, 2011 at 06:50 AM in reply to
        "how was you ever in the school system" How were you? Your whole comment is full of grammatical errors.
  • by Anonymous on May 9, 2011 at 09:01 PM
    it's time to cut the school boards salary and vote them all out of office. It's time to get new leadership. Get rid of all the assistants in the principls and aides. Cut the county office support and put half, if not more, of those people back in the class rooms. The system has gotten top heavy and sucking money from the classrooms. Private schools give better educations with less money as do charter schools. Why can't the public schools educate as well on less money?????
    • reply
      by Not Really on May 10, 2011 at 06:07 AM in reply to
      Private schools are not neccessarily providing better educations.. I am seeing various high school and younger children transition from Private to Public and these children are behind specifically in Math and Science. If you do not believe me check the statistics in children entering college prep classes and you will notice more are from certain Private schools.. North Florida Christian being one as well.
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