The Sarasota County School Board has barely scratched the surface of budget discussions for the 2013-2014 school year, but it knows there will be difficult choices ahead.
The board began budget discussions during a workshop Tuesday. Members will need to make $8 million in cuts for 2013-14, and an additional $6 million for the 2014-15 school year. Impacts from the governor’s suggested budget — it must be approved by the state Legislature, which won’t take place until March — include an increase in the cost of group insurance, as well as “very low student growth.” These will affect the unassigned fund balance, reducing it to an estimated $32 million, or 8.34 percent, for 2013-14, according to Al Weidner, deputy chief financial officer for the district. He said despite the estimated reduction to the unassigned fund balance, the district still would be within an acceptable range, and an estimated $24 million for 2014-15.
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