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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Superintendent Greene gets an early win, fights to keep music, art and PE

DCPS started the budget year 62 million in the hole, mostly because of unfunded mandates from Tallahassee and the fact Vitti spent like a drunken sailor on his way out of town.

A lot was on the cutting block and perhaps the most painful were art, music and PE. Well working with the board Greene has announced these were priorities we are not going to cut.

From WOKV:

 As Duval County Public Schools faces a $62 million budget hole, we've learned cuts to arts, music, and physical education funding are now being taken off the table.
Instead, DCPS says the frequency will remain the same, so students should see no changes to the level of these classes at their schools this upcoming school year, when compared to last school year. However, this assumes that enrollment levels remain about the same. 
"Arts, music, and physical education provide important developmental experiences for children. I am thankful the Board is supportive of other strategies to balance the budget and that we will continue this district's commitment to arts, music, and physical education," says Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene in a statement released Tuesday. 
In order to keep funding levels the same, the district says it's recommending delaying its objective to build its unassigned reserve funds over the minimum level. 
The district's Chief Financial Officer, Michelle Begley, says they had originally hoped to move the reserves closer to the 5% mark, but with a per-student allocation from the state of just 47 cents per-student this year, it isn't the right time to reach that goal. 
The district says the total of assigned and unassigned reserve funds is about 4.75%, which is above the required 3%.
This is great news for the district but at the same time I am troubled with the boards determination to put 5 percent of our budget in reserves when the most we have to have is three percent.
We have issues and people's jobs on the line and I would rather we spent our money on that rather than throwing it in an account to collect interest. Now I am not saying lets go below three percent I am saying having just three percent in reserves is just find and maybe we need to throw some of what's left and reopen the districts libraries. We have a reading problem and Vitti's solution was to close our libraries and pass out handouts.
The restoration of art, music and PE is good news, and kudos to superintendent Greene for recognizing their importance, but now what about all those empty libraries, we desperately need them too, and if we have enough in reserves to make it happen then we should.  

1 comment:

  1. What about Middle Schools? Are the electives going to be saved there or will students be subjected to six 40 minute core classes a day and offered one elective?