Sarasota News Leader

03/22/2013

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Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 41 $8,007. Weidner projected an annual savings ance the budget for the 2014 fiscal year. White pointed out the district has been cutting the of $655,094 from the closing. budget every year since 2007. ���I think this is a conservative estimate. The savings will exceed the $650,000 annually,��� The total budget reductions in the last six years come to more than $120 million, she White added. said. The total district budget was about $420 White made it clear that small schools such as million in the 2007-2008 school year; it is less Phoenix are always more expensive to operthan $375 million this year. ate per student than large schools. Still, the FY 2014 budget estimates, already in ���The process has been painful, but it���s the the red, ���are not a worst-case scenario,��� White absolute biggest responsibility we have,��� she said, referring to the uncertainty of funding added, referring to balancing the district���s and mandates that might come out of the curbudget. ���We cannot continue to rely on our rent session of the Florida Legislature, which reserves.��� began two weeks ago. ���We cannot afford to lose these students,��� said School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin, but she reluctantly agreed with White���s plan. ���I think we go forward,��� Goodwin added. White told the board that the successive years of budget cuts had left her with painful, difficult and complicated options at this point, as she presented further recommendations involving trash pickup savings and Florida Power & Light energy rebate allocations. Her goal is to cut $6 million from the budget, just to head off further use of reserves, she noted. Board member Carol Todd objected. ���We build programs, then we tear them down,��� she pointed out. Nonetheless, she also relented and said she would approve White���s recommendation. In the early 1990s the state held back funds Formal votes on the next budget will come in from school districts because of its own lossJuly and September on a schedule set by the es during the national savings and loan debacle. The district had to let teachers go in state. the middle of the school year, according to ���We have to budget based on what we have,��� White and Weidner. In subsequent lean years, said board member Frank Kovach. ���The real the district had to borrow money to pay bills estate bubble is a reality. We have to deal with until local property tax revenue came in, they it,��� he added. said. The Phoenix Academy recommendation was At this stage, ���There is no low-hanging one of more than two dozen proposed cuts fruit,��� White said. ���We are cutting into the presented to the board in an attempt to bal- bone now.��� %

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