St. Lucie County School Board votes to close Garden City Early Learning Academy, make other cuts

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The St. Lucie County School Board voted to close Garden City Early Learning Academy but didn't approve a recommendation to close Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts.

During tonight's board meeting, the board approved approximately $13.9 million in budget cuts and tabled a $2 million proposal to either privatize custodial services or to save that amount under an in-house plan.

The School Board needs to slash about $15 million from next year's budget in order to have a balanced budget. Prior to the board meeting school officials released a revised menu of budget cut options with a list of recommended cuts totaling $21.2 million.

The board didn't approve a recommendation to cut school librarians -- a proposal that had been met with objections.

Board members said they weren't interested in moving forward with a list of non-recommended items totaling approximately $6.4 million. The consolidation of magnet school programs at Fairlawn Elementary and FK Sweet Elementary and cutting all employees' salaries by 1 percent and eliminating one-paid holiday for all employees were among the items not recommended by Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon.

Among the cuts the board approved are:

*Health insurance program redesign: $7,000,000

*Transitioning Dan McCarty School to a pure middle school serving grades 6 to 8 only: $360,000

*Transitioning to block schedule at the four middle schools: $960,000

*Reducing one resource teacher at the K-8 schools: $420,000

*Implement substitute allocation system: $750,000

*Maintenance department reorganization: $840,000

Earlier tonight School officials have released a revised menu of budget cut options with a list of recommended cuts totaling $21.2 million in an effort to slash about $15 million from next year's budget.



Increase pay-to-play--$185,300


Modifications to remote areas (no elimination of service)--$420,000

Restructuring Schools

* Transition Dan McCarty School to serve grades 6 – 8 only--$360,000.

* Close Ft. Pierce Magnet School of the Arts--$886,320.

* Close Garden City Early Learning Academy--$791,694.

Modify Staffing Allocations and Scheduling Methods

* Redesign media services delivery - All media centers remain open. Elem schools and K8 schools, staffed by Professional Media Specialists; Middle and High schools staffed by Media Clerks--$1,431,992.

* Transition to block schedule at 4 middle schools (similar to high school schedule, teaching 7-out-of-7 periods)--$960,000.

*K8 schools - reduction of one resource teacher--$420,000.

*Substitute Teachers - implement allocation system, to be managed by schools--$750,000…

Restructuring District Divisions

*Student Services, Exceptional Ed, and Alternative Ed Reorganization--$1,629,547

*Management of Custodial Services: either in-house plan or external provider--$2,000,000

*Maintenance department reorganization--$840,000

*Reduction in use of outside legal services--$250,000.

Employee Salaries and Benefits

*Reduction in academic supplement allocations--$250,000.

**FY 2013-14 two-day furlough for all 250-day administrators (82)--$55,475

*Health Insurance program redesign, including cafeteria plan contribution--$7,000,000.

Non-Recurring Options (affects 2013-14 only)

*Additional reduction in unreserved fund balance, per mediation--$3,000,000

Total of Recommendations--$21,230,328

This story will be updated.

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