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Leon County school district releases proposed budget

Leon County Schools
Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-24 14:21:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--For the past five years the Leon County School District has been strapped for cash, but now school officials say they're in good shape.

"This is probably the most stable budget we've had from one year to the next in the last several years," said Barbara Wills.

Barbara Wills, the Assistant Superintendent for Leon County Schools says since 2008, the school district has seen nothing but cuts to their budget.

"This year fortunately we don't have to make those cuts," said Wills.

The $281 million dollar budget includes more than $5 million dollars of pay raises for teachers and school staff, plus additional money to sustain services to students in the classroom.

Extra dollars for teachers is something parents like Michael Youngblood say is much needed.

"I think that would help get more qualified teachers and keep more qualified teachers in the area which will certainly improve and better the education for our children," said Youngblood.

But, he says some of the money should go towards adding a 7th period class for schools that were forced to drop down to 6 periods cutting out some elective courses.

"Keep doing what they're doing to expand their horizon but make the opportunities available at the same time for the kids to pursue their out of classroom interests," said Youngblood.

Assistant superintendent Wills says they saw a decrease of about $6.3 million dollars from property taxes and an increase in retirement and insurance costs. Overall, but she says.this budget will still get the job done.

"Our students and our teachers thankfully, we look forward to going in the next fiscal year with a very stable and balanced budget," said Wills.

The district will be holding two public budget hearings before the final decision. The dates for the hearings are July 30th and September 10th.