Friday, March 09, 2018

Pasco Superintendent Urges Pasco Delegation to Reject State Budget

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (March 9, 2018) – Pasco County Schools superintendent Kurt Browning wrote to members of the Pasco Legislative Delegation today, urging them to vote “No” on the state budget.

In the email, Browning points out that the proposed Base Student Allocation (BSA) increase of $.47 per student (.01%) equals an additional $34,613.29 for Pasco County Schools for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

“This amount is not even close to one starting teacher’s salary,” Browning wrote.

The BSA is the amount of money the state provides per student, and is the main source of flexible funding school districts receive to pay for new or continuing educational programs and teacher and staff salaries.  It is one part of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).

The overall FEFP per-student increase for Pasco’s children is only $88.49 each, compared to the statewide average of $101.50 per student.  Although legislators will suggest that this is a significant increase, the Legislature mandates the specific programs on which almost all of that increase must be spent, primarily on safe schools and mental health programs, removing any flexibility districts have in deciding how best to appropriate the funds.

“Although I strongly support funding school safety measures, the majority of the increased FEFP is for student safety at the expense of educating our students,” Browning said.

The increase in funding per student will not cover inflation (increased costs for utilities, property insurance, and health care coverage for employees), student enrollment growth, or teacher raises, Browning noted.

The Legislature is expected to vote on the state budget Sunday.