Pinellas County school board budget hearing listen07/29/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
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The Pinellas County School Board met Tuesday night at the Administration building. After the meeting, there was a public hearing to discuss the budget and millage decisions.
Dr. Doug Forth, of the Pinellas County Schools budget department, explained the proposed millage rates. This rate would increase from $8.06 to $8.35 per $1,000 of taxable property value. Many who spoke mentioned the fact that the state legislature should be in charge of this funding.
Arrow Woodard, a local mother, supported the millage increase, but said that people may oppose it due to the advertising in local newspapers, which she said featured mostly infrastructure repairs. However, the advertisement is bound by laws as to what it can include.
Victor Flonar said that he is having trouble as it is and that an increased millage rate will affect the people in the county.
Board member, Carol Cook, in an act of protest opposed the millage.
Other board members, such as Mary Brown, did not agree with the millage either, but said that it was most important to keep in mind the students.
Chairwoman, Peggy O’Shea said that she would also support the increase, but that may not be the case at the second hearing in September.
The additional millage was passed with a 6-1 vote, with member Carol Cook dissenting.
The next topic of the hearing was the 2009/2010 budget. The public discussed their concerns about the proposed $1.4 billion budget. Joseph Robinson, the economic development chair of the NAACP said that the budget, in its simplest sense is an engine of the economy. He did have some concerns with the specifics of the budget.
Pamela Peters, of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association brought up what she calls the financial plight of Pinellas county teachers.
Shelley Foster is a teacher at Oak Grove Middle. She said that through her own experiences as a student and as a teacher, the teachers are the most important aspect of helping student achievement.
The tentative budget was approved and the second hearing for the millage rates and 2009/2010 budge will be held on September 15th at the School Administration building in Largo. More information can be found at www.pinellas.k12.fl.us/budget .