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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Pinellas schools budget faces public scrutiny

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— The public will have its first opportunity to weigh-in on the Pinellas County school district’s proposed $1.2 billion budget for 2014-15 after the regular school board meeting tonight at 5 o’clock.

A final public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9, when the school board is expected to adopt the document.

The school district’s general operating fund, the main funding source which pays for day-to-day operations, increased by about $20.8 million this year, to $880.5 million. However, much of that increase is earmarked for specific initiatives like boosting technology to prepare for online testing and classrooms assignments required by the new Florida Standards, which will be fully adopted next school year.

The hearing will include a breakdown of the budget and discussion of this year’s property tax rate of 7.84 mills, or about 7.84 for each $1,000 of taxable assessed property value. The rate is lower than 8.06 mills in 2013-14.

The school district also has allocated about $234 million for its capital budget, which funds equipment purchases and construction and renovation projects. About $35 million is earmarked to build a new campus for Largo High School.

The public hearing should begin by about 6:30 p.m. in the School District Administration Building, 301 Fourth St. SW, in Largo. The full district budget, millage proposals and strategic plan can be found online at www.pcsb.org.

adawson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-9851

Twitter: @adawsonTBO

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