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Duval County Public Schools budget shrinks due to turning over charter school funds

11:06 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County School Board has begun the budget process for next school year.

The board found out today that some budget shortfalls are already threatening some new initiatives Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wanted to begin this next school year.

Vitti admitted he miscalculated the impact that funding for charter schools would have on next year's school budget.

Vitti and his staff and the school board are crunching the budget numbers trying to figure out how $911 million in revenue will be spent.

In a special committee meeting Thursday morning, Vitti informed the school board that they will have to turn over $57 million dollars for 21 charter schools now in existence, and up to 10 more that could be established in the fall.
    
The school system will also give more than $20 million dollars for McKay scholarships and vouchers for kids to go to private schools.
    
Vitti said he had hoped to provide iPads for every Duval County student in the fall and provide math and reading coaches in every school.
    
But he said that will have to be partially cut.
    
He said the loss of money to charter schools is alarming, and that is why Duval County Public Schools must win those students back.

"Just because that child goes to a charter school doesn't mean we can't re-recruit them back into our system," Vitti said. "As we improve academically in our school district, and create safer and healthier schools, they will come back. I can guarantee that I sense the energy and the renewed commitment to public education. We'll get 'em back."

Vitti said that a little more than 50 percent of Duval students, those in Title One schools and ESE students will get iPads this next school year and the rest will get them in the 2014-15 school year.
   
He said he wants to put math and reading coaches in schools with grades C, D and F next school year rather than all schools.
    
The school board will be going over the numbers over the next two-and-half months to figure out just how the money will be spent. Board Chairman Fel Lee said the board is in the fifth inning of a ninth inning ball game.
    
A public hearing on the new school budget is set for July 30th.

First Coast News

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