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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why is the Duval County School Board insisting we keep triple the amount in reserves?

First let me remind you that several school board members received a 2800 dollar raise. A teacher would have to work 20 years before they got a raise approaching that much.

From the Times Union: After asking for revisions on capital dollars and charter school money, board members then decided they wanted to see the rough draft with 9 percent of the general revenue placed in the district’s reserve fund.

State law requires that the school district tuck away 3 percent in the reserve fund, which would mean $24.7 million for 2013-14. At 9 percent, that number is around $75 million.

Why are we leaving 50 million on the sidelines again? How about throwing some of that to the district’s teachers and staff who haven’t received raises in years? If huge raises are okay for the school board shouldn’t at least little raises be okay for the teachers and staff too?

The reality is there are lots of needs in the district that are going unmet. Last I counted there were just 12 social workers for all 123,000 kids, many teachers have to pay for their own supplies and should we really have 50 kids in art classes or 60 or more in P.E.?

The school board seems to think so.



  1. The state requires that 3% of budget be held in reserves. If that money is ever touched the state can come in and take over the entire district. That means that money is unusable for semi-emergency purposes or revenue shortfalls. Given the recent history of the district, it is wise of them to keep $50M of usable reserve dollars.

  2. I'll bite, why is it wise and the article says they are contemplating triple the amount required not double. I will remind you that just two years ago the district plead poverty while firing people, cutting salaries and ending programs, while sitting on 125 million dollars.

  3. Above and beyond what the Governor is giving out, the district is giving out $8.5M dollars in raises next year.

    Also, Obamacare is costing the district an additional $8M dollars. Essentially that will be an $8M increase in the value of the districts cadillac insurance plan without any contribution from the employees.

  4. Cadillac insurance? Do you mean the insurance that has gone up and provided less over the last few years. Goodbye Flex card. Its a bit of a misnomer to begin with as large groups and the district employs 13k or so often get discounts. Isn't a big chunk of that going to admins and if you could source the 8.5 million in raises I would like to post it...

  5. Some of the other specifics Vitti gave the board included the district needing to pay an extra $8 million in health care costs for 2013-14 and another $8.4 million for experience-based pay increases for employees.

    I guess some might see a step increase as a raise, I like to think about it as the base salary for a first year teacher is different than the base salary of a second year teacher but my main point is last year or the year before I forget the district reneged on teachers step increase and did so while they had tens of million extra in the bank.

  6. Why would they frame it as 9%? Because there are people who would like to spend all of the money on their favorite programs, and then force the district into a situation where the district will have to cut programs or raise taxes. 3% is required by the state and that money must stay intact or the district will be taken over by the state. If tax revenue is less than projected or programs/initiatives cost more than projected the district will be forced to raise taxes. Direct tax raising levers are severely limited and the only significant option available is a referendum, which takes a lot of time and probably wouldn't pass. The total budget is $1,600M why would we want to have less than $50M of usable reserve funds? Why is it wise? Because it is irresponsible and dangerous to live "paycheck to paycheck."

  7. The district did ask for a freeze on pay increases for one year, but the pay has been made whole in accordance with that agreement. I won't defend Ed's lies, he deserves all the credit. You may decide not to consider a step increase a pay raise, but it is a pay raise. Also, I do wish that your pay system treated you like professionals and not like factory workers. One day your professional will get the respect it deserves.