Seminole County’s school board has found itself a political target at home, and in Tallahassee, for its threat to close down schools due to budget cuts and declining revenue.
Seminole is facing a $20 million budget shortfall next year, largely due to the end of one-time federal assistance. The district has proposed everything from saving $500,000 by raising thermostats, to ending school sports and closing schools.
Seminole County commissioners said Tuesday that the district had built too many schools, according to the Orlando Sentinel, leaving empty seats and a big debt bill to pay off.
Wednesday the Miami Herald reported the Florida House had joined in, passing a budget amendment stating schools should cut salaries of top administrators before closing schools:
Opponents said the amendment was a thinly veiled shot at the Seminole County school district, which recently threatened to close schools if the Legislature did not increase education funding.
Seminole certainly fits the bill.
The amendment applies only to school districts that have tried — but failed -– to levy a half-penny sales tax, and have built new school facilities despite three years of declining student enrollment. The Seminole school system has come under fire for both.
What do you think of the Seminole County school board’s complaints? And what of the response from Legislators? Are lawmakers micromanaging school districts too much?