Brevard Schools budget proposal includes teacher cuts, pay for playing sports

Superintendent proposes to cut $38.8 million from budget

COCOA, Fla. - Brevard County schools has proposed a new $38.8 million budget cuts that would include the loss of more than 400 employees, including many teachers, and would make parents pay for their children to be involved in sports.

A list of 62 recommended cuts and cost savings was released on Wednesday morning. The largest cut, with a savings of $11 million, would cancel the second planning period for middle and high school teachers and lay off 191 teachers.

Other layoffs could include: 69 media assistant positions, 59 elementary music teachers, 57 elementary art teachers, 16 high school guidance positions, 11 middle school guidance positions, 10 campus monitors, 6 secondary media specialists, 5 instructional assistants, 5 English as a second language instructional assistants, 3 strings teacher consultant positions, a writing resource teacher position and an elementary guidance position.

The proposed cuts include a furlough day for year-round teachers and administrators and a half-day for 10-month teachers and staff.

Program cuts on the list ranged from eliminating elementary music and art programs to ending corridor busing to the district's choice schools to slashing funding for Lego League and Robotics budgets.

"They just keep chipping away at the school, and the school system, they're losing a lost of programs that shape their future," said Sea Park Elementary parent Alan Barnett. "It's kind of tough to see that happening."

Richard Smith, President of the Brevard County Federation of teachers says under the proposed cuts, students would lose just as much as the teachers.

"You take away art and music teachers as an example, yeah, the teachers lost a job and that's bad for the teacher, but guess what, its bad for the kids that aren't getting that education as well," Smith said. "This budget disappoints me in many ways, not the least of which, the closer you get to the classroom, the more cuts there are."

Parents are expected to push for another referendum in the spring, to ask citizens for a half-cent sales tax.

Also under the proposed cuts:

The district will no longer pay for high school juniors to take the ACT, a college-entrance exam.

Families wishing to apply to choice programs and schools would pay an annual $20 fee.

And athletes will be required to pay a fee to participate in sports, including $100 for the first sport and $50 for the second sport, with low-income students qualifying for a sliding scale.

The list also includes ending the district's compliance with Florida's class size laws, which limits the number of students in core classes. Disregarding the law by increasing class sizes to school-wide averages would save an estimated $4.8 million.

In addition, a number of administrative savings are recommended, from restricting the district's human resources department to consolidating alternative learning and adult education centers.

To read more on the budget, visit the Brevard County schools website.

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