Hillsborough County School Board get rough economic news at workshop

Board member April Griffin told CL yesterday that "we’ve cut over $100 million over the lsat 3 years.  We have done everything creatively we can to cut our expenditures down, and we’ve done a really good job without getting in the classroom."

She added that people always say, "''you need to cut the fat',  were down to the marrow."

Meanwhile, the St. Pete Times reports that one of Griffin's colleague on the board, Jennifer Faliero owes over $50,000 to creditors.  Some critics will no doubt reference the fact that Faliero has been outspoken in defending the $37,014 annual salary that Hillsborough board members earn.

Faliero was speaking out about a proposal (that has since been tabled) by Jacksonville Republican State Senator Stephen Wise that would cut school board members salaries to those of legislators, who make $29,000 annually (legislators meet generally for a two month legislative session, as well as special sessions on occasion and committee meetings).

In an interview with CL earlier this week, Faliero strongly defended herself regarding her anger at a state lawmaker asking her to take a pay cut, saying, "I've taken criticism 'oh, she should quit if she doesn't like the pay,' and 'oh this is much lower than a starting teacher's salary.'  I'm not whining about my salary, let me make that very clear.  And the fact that one member has enough power to put in a bill that could be passed that would affect only 35 members (only 5 county school district members  would have been affected by the proposal), that's not the way the process is supposed to work."

Faliero added that she believes that the state needs to give back more local control to the districts on schools.  "If the people don't like it, they're going to let us know, because they're going to throw us out of office."

The board was informed that it would cost them nearly $14 millio

Like every other local government agency, the Hillsborough County School Board is going to need to cut more from their budget in the coming months.  At a a workshop conducted yesterday, Board members learned that, as the Tampa Tribune reports today, they have $77 million in additional expenses to contend with this year.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said some of the numbers could change in the coming months, and one of those numbers that might change is the $13.9 million penciled in to guarantee the district meets the mandated class size restrictions, which are scheduled to go to a hard cap for K-12th grade this August.

However, as lawmakers in Tallahassee continue to discuss a potential Constitutional Amendment that would add "flexibility" to the class size requirements, there is also talk about somehow doing something to alleviate the fact that even if such an amendment gets on the November ballot and passes, that would be months after the new, final rules go into effect.

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