Our Schools: Where’s the Money?

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Ten years ago when I first ran for a school board seat, I was the first candidate to question and study the school board budget. To clearly depict it, I drew a pie graph showing 23% of the total budget going for overhead administrative costs, while Seminole County spent only 13% on their overhead budget.

Since that time our school budget has gone from under a billion dollars to over $2 billion, an increase from 1997 to 2004 (when I last studied the budget) of 110%. The number of students rose from 129,000 to 167,000 an increase of only 37%. Dividing the 2004 budget by the number of students gives you $12,000 per student. But when you look at the individual schools for those years, you can see that the schools’ budget went from only $2900 to $3,500 per student, an increase of only 21%.

So, where’s the money? If you want to study the budget, ask for the full budget (the two inch thick one) not the summary budget. I was never given a reasonable answer. These local school budget figures don’t add up for me. How about you?

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