Sarasota County Schools,
Manatee County Schools
Number of Schools
Exceptional schools include Pine View School for the Gifted and Oak Park.
*** There are a variety of alternative programs and three charter schools.
Racial / Ethnic Composition
The Campaign for Excellence plan represents the best thinking of educators, classified staff, community members, and students. By consolidating local, state, and national resources, we can create programs that will enable us to become one of the top school districts in the country. The Campaign for Excellence, which is based on Effective Schools Research and Continuous Quality Improvement management principles, identifies the best current trends and practices from schools and districts around the world.
For the past 17 years, I have worked in a variety of capacities in this district. During that time I have gotten to know most of you. I was truly overwhelmed by your show of support when I was appointed Superintendent. I am grateful for everything you have done for me and you continue to do for the children of this district.
Much has been said in the past year about Sarasota County becoming a world class school district. As far as I am concerned, we already have a world class staff who have performed with excellence despite limited resources. Unfortunately, our financial picture continues to be a problem.
Let me explain why the Sarasota County School District continues to find itself in a financial crisis. In 1994 the Sarasota County taxpayers passed a referendum that provided additional income to our school district. Local referendum monies coupled with state dollars allowed us to keep class sizes low, offer extended support services, and provide special programs to meet the needs of our students. Test scores improved to the point that Sarasota County became the number one district in Florida.
For these past six years, the district benefited from being a two-income household. However, in July the voters of Sarasota County spoke and, for a myriad of important reasons, rejected the local millage referendum. This vote eliminated our local tax dollars. We are now a single-income family.
Like any home in America, when your income is diminished, you have two choices: reduce expenditures and/or increase revenue sources. To get this school districts house in order, given our new single income, we must immediately adopt both of these actions.
My first challenge as the new Superintendent is to further reduce our spending by $14.4 million dollars between now and the opening of school next August. Doing this will cause us to live within our current state revenue sources alone. If we are diligent in our efforts starting now, we can positively affect the budget cuts projected for this spring.
With students as our first priority, the district is examining a variety of measures to decrease expenditures. No stone will go unturned. We will immediately institute cost-saving measures, such as an intense energy management program and a hiring freeze wherever possible. We must ask ourselves: Are there other ways to get the job done without increasing expenditures?
To increase our revenue base, the school district must look at all options before going to the taxpayers. Grants, partnerships, donor programs, etc. will be explored. We must find new, creative ways to financially support our excellent programs.
These acts will not eliminate the spring budget reduction entirely, but they will soften the impact. This is not an easy task. It requires a unified commitment to cut costs while still maintaining the focus on our primary goal: the achievement, safety and well being of every student.
One of the first acts I have undertaken is to reorganize the Division of Instruction. I will not be replacing my previous assistant superintendent position or the secretarial position associated with it. This will result in a $140, 000 savings to the district. Other departments are also presenting cost savings proposals. At every school board meeting throughout the year, I plan on announcing how much money the district has saved to date. We will post these figures on our web site as well.
I hope all of you will help the district find creative solutions to our financial challenges. I am counting on your ideas and support.
Superintendent of Schools
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