~District seeking continuance of one mil additional levy~

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 09:10 AM.

Norton said that cuts would likely occur to sports and other extracurricular activities, vocational and academic programs.

“School won’t be like we have it now if this doesn’t pass. It will be ugly,” said School Board member John Wright.

Norton and the board note the trimming that has taken place over the past four years, part of promises made when seeking the additional operating mil originally.

The district has consolidated middle and high schools, cut jobs, eliminated sports teams, reduced the district travel budget and eliminated bus routes while requiring that athletic coaches become certified bus drivers to reduce expenses.

The district budget, in turn, has fallen nearly $3 million in the past five years while the number of public school employees has fallen by nearly 80 people over the same span.

In additional, the School Board has maintained the lowest LCI millage rate in the state – 1.1 mils below what is allowed by the state – and contributed a portion of member salaries to the district.

The district also retired several years early the half cent sales tax for Port St. Joe Elementary School.

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