Brevard School Board debates cuts

445 Positions could be eliminated

VIERRA, Fla. - Hundreds of teachers could soon be out of a job and students may have to pay to play sports.

Brevard County school officials are looking at 62 options for deep cuts to make up for a massive budget deficit.

"We have a $30.7 million issue," said Brevard County Superintendent Brian Binggeli.

District officials went line by line Friday morning, considering Binggeli's 62 recommendations to fill the nearly $31 million budget hole.

On the chopping block: Everything from middle school intramurals to 191 middle and high school teachers. Another idea is to increase class sizes, which could save the district $4.8 million.

One of the most controversial measures calls for closing four schools. Local 6 was at several school board meetings this year where parents have rallied to save Sea Park, Gardendale and South Lake Elementary Schools as well as Clearlake Middle School. Those cuts would save about $3 million.

The district is also considering adding new fees to attend year-round schools, participate in the school choice program and pay to play sports.

"We (are considering) $100 for the first sport, $50 for the second sport with a sliding scale for free and reduced lunch (students), which is very common in these play to participate models," said Binggeli.

Other ideas call for cutting dozens of guidance counselors as well as elementary music and art teachers.

Binggeli sayid the district has to make the changes and he's proposing cutting 445 jobs to make up the shortfall.

But Binggeli also suggested cutting even more, nearly 600 jobs to save an additional $8 million, which may be needed down the road.

School leaders won't vote on any of the cuts until next year. District officials say they're facing the shortfall after voters rejected a half penny sales tax in November. The tax would have generated an estimated $32 million.

Binggeli says the tax proposal will likely be put back on the ballot in 2014.

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