District will ask voters for assistance

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM.

The district has one of the lowest LCI millage rates in the state, at .400 mils and could raise it to as much as 1.50 mils, but that money can only be used for “bricks and mortar”, equipment, building needs, but not personnel or operating funds.

Norton said he and staff had already identified some $600,000 in cuts – after some $1.5 million last fiscal year – that will likely take place no matter the outcome of the special election, but added that the district would face a shortfall of $1.8 million dollars if voters do not stay the course on the additional mil levy.

“It won’t be school as normal if we lose that one mil,” said board member John Wright, who said the impacts would be significant and across the board, impacting not only education but extracurricular activities.”

The district would also face a potential issue with addressing a state constitutional amendment which mandates teacher/student ratios at each grade level.

The district is losing a second-grade teacher at Port St. Joe Elementary after the first of the year and will not be hiring a permanent replacement, at least in the short-term.

“We are in an attrition mode,” Norton said. “There is just not much meat left on the bone.

“We are in a bad economic crunch. When we say we are paring as much as we can, we are paring as much as we can.”

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