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Pasco School Board Asks For Alternatives To Cutting Media Specialists

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John O'Connor/StateImpact Florida

The Pasco County school board has asked Superintendent Kurt Browning to come up with alternatives to cutting media specialists and literacy coaches to help close a budget shortfall, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Board members don't like the proposed cuts, but say other solutions won't work either:

Board member Joanne Hurley said she was "not really comfortable" with the superintendent's plan, and did not want to approve a staffing formula that might hurt the proper levels of student support in the schools.       "I don't want to approve something tonight that can't be changed," Hurley said.
At the same time, she and her colleagues told Browning that they do not want to balance the 2013-14 budget by dipping into nonrecurring revenue sources, as they have done in recent years. "At some point it's just irresponsible to keep raiding the funds," board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong said.

Pasco County schools face a $19.5 million budget shortfall. Redistributing media specialists and literacy coaches would save an estimated $5 million.

Pasco County schools aren't the only district facing a similar decision.

Tuesday, Sarasota County's school board voted to replace high school and middle school media specialists with aides to save money, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

StateImpact Florida has written about the changing role of school media specialists as Florida introduces new education standards which put more emphasis on reading. The standards, known as Common Core, also ask students to back up their work with research and analysis.

Read more about Common Core -- and how it will change how and what students learn in school -- over at StateImpact Florida.

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