CUTS TO RESULT IN SWEEPING EDUCATION CHANGES
By Space Coast Daily // December 19, 2012
Teachers, Programs Under The Ax
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – A devastating list of proposed school budget cuts was announced Wednesday morning by Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Binggeli.
If adopted by the Brevard School Board, the amount of savings will add up to a cost reduction of more than $38 million, which Binggeli says the district needs to implement following rejection in November of a half-cent sales tax by voters.
Binggeli said the money would have gone toward capital improvements such as facility repairs and purchasing new school busses.
The school district is facing a 65 percent decline in capital revenue and funding from the state and the budget proposal includes a previously announced plan to close four schools at the end of this school year.
That specific proposal, which would shutter Gardendale Elementary Magnet School, Sea Park Elementary School, South Lake Elementary School and Clearlake Middle School, will be voted on by the school board in January following a public hearing.
The prioritized list of cuts announced Wednesday will leave Brevard schools much different if approved.
Binggeli is proposing that the district halt compliance with Florida’s mandated class-size amendment, saving about $4.8 million alone in teaching expenditures.
Other proposed cuts include:
• Furloughing teachers and administrators on year-round schedules for one full day without pay and furloughing teachers and staff on 10-month schedules for a half-day without pay.
• Curtailing a second planning period for middle school and high school teachers resulting in the layoff of 191 teachers.
• District-wide layoffs including 69 media assistants, 59 elementary school music teachers, 57 elementary school art teachers, 28 high school, middle school and elementary school guidance counselors, 10 on-campus monitors, six high school media specialists, five instructional assistants, five ESOL (English As A Second Language) instructional assistants, three strings teacher positions, a writing resource teacher and an education technology position.
• Stop paying for high school juniors’ ACT placement testing.
• Requiring new fees for employees undergoing background and fingerprint screenings and for parents making applications for their children to schools of choice.
• Elimination of corridor busing of students to schools of choice and no longer providing elementary school art and music education.
• Dropping all middle school sports programs.
• Drastically slashing the budgets for robotics and Lego Leagues.
• Requiring prep athletes to “Pay-To-Play.” Fees would be $100 for the first sport played and $50 for competing in a second sport. A sliding scale would be imposed for student-athletes on a free or reduced lunch.
• Consolidation of the district’s adult learning centers.
• Elimination of the district’s elementary and middle school summer remedial jumpstart programs.
• Reduce curriculum and instructional program support to schools by 7 percent.
• Elimination of all year-round schools in Brevard.
Binggeli’s proposals also features moving some of then district’s operational funding to capital funding to balance out the $38.4 million budget shortfall.
In a press release, Binggeli says Brevard Public Schools is making the proposed cuts as a comprehensive plan to preserve the integrity of its facilities and transportation without deferring the costs to future generations.
“The sales surtax was presented to our community as a way to stop this untenable path of deferral. It is likely to be presented again in 2014. But for now, we must take responsible action,” Binggeli said.