State educators lament fiscal situation in Tallahassee

03/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The Florida State Board of Education held a workshop where members heard from a variety of state educators today.

The administrators all acknowledged the tremendous challenges they are facing with reduced funding, but most said they were thinking positively.

Sanford Shugart, president of Valencia Community College, told Board member Roberto Martinez that the resource allocation model in the state has been broken for a long time.

Michael Greco is the superintendant with the Osceola District School. He says the state should do more rehabilitation of older school buildings. He said even with the distractions of the deteriorating economy, it was important for school administrators to be positive. But he said that his district is reducing in every capacity.

Meg Smith is the superintendent with Volusia County. Her district has had the largest proportion of student decline of any district with more than 30,000 students, and also they’ve had the highest reduction in state funding.

She said all school district board employees have taken a 2 percent pay cut and eliminated junior varsity sports. Smith also said she has cut her substitute teacher budget in half.

Tim Wilder, the superintendent for Gulf County, said that when he accepted his job, it wasn’t to do it only if times were good. So he said he has a glass half full perspective.

He said Gulf County is losing students at a faster proportion than anywhere else in the state. Tomorrow night Gulf County voters will go to the polls to decide on a 1 mill referendum for education.

Today’s workshop was to examine Florida’s current fiscal situation and discuss recommendations.

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