Charlotte County Public Schools

PORT CHARLOTTE — The superintendent of Charlotte County Public Schools provided a detailed breakdown of where referendum dollars have been spent so far.

At last month's Independent Referendum Oversight Committee (IROC) meeting, the 12 members tasked with monitoring the spending of referendum money asked for more information.

The district has estimated it will receive $18.8 million toward its operating budget as a result of the voter-approved referendum. The referendum was passed last November, and would cost taxpayers an additional $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value of a homeowner's property. 

Committee member Geri Waksler had said if a member of the community asked her what the money was being spent on, she wanted to be able to provide examples.

At the meeting, Superintendent Steve Dionisio provided a general overview: The district has spent $1,763,060 at this point. Dionisio asked for a week to provide committee members with specifics, so he could reach out to each department for what was purchased. 

He said with the committee being new to him, he didn't know what they would expect or request.

Friday, Dionisio sent members of the committee the breakdown he had promised. 

Looking at the breakdown, Waksler said she was surprised to see that the majority of the money that went to the band was spent on instrument repairs. This showed her that prior to the passage of the referendum, the district had really cut its budget to trim any excess, so the majority was spent on operating costs.

"I never doubted the school district was spending the money properly," Waksler said, "I just wanted specific examples, so you can really see the impact the money is having."

The district has not yet received any money from the referendum, so spending has been limited. Money had to be borrowed, so the district could begin implementing certain programs at the beginning of the school year. 

Here's where the dollars have been spent so far...

Art and Music Programs: $43,825 spent 

Charlotte High School: Art; paper, paints and supplies. Band; instrument repairs, uniforms, and new instruments. Chorus; black choral folders, vinyl garment bags for uniforms. Drama; shop tools for set building.

Lemon Bay High School: Art; acrylic paints, wheat paste, 4,000-pound clay, tools, spray gun with compressor, tapes, colored pencils, wires, papers and sculpture supplies. Band; instrument repair, new instruments, supplies, music. Drama; camera and accessories.

Port Charlotte High School: Art; paper, clay, tools and supplies. Band; instrument repair, new instruments, and music.

L.A. Ainger Middle School: Art; paper, colored markers, pencils, and clay. Band; repair and maintenance, accessories, and new lockers.

Murdock Middle School: Art; paper, colored pencils, watercolors, and markers. Band; instrument repairs.

Port Charlotte Middle School: Art; paper and supplies. Band; repair and supplies for repair of instruments. Chorus; music and supplies.

Punta Gorda Middle School: Art; lights. Band; instruments, repair, and music. Chorus; art supplies, paint, and paper.

East Elementary School: Art; metallic markers, metallic crayons, and colored pencils. Music; percussion instruments and music.

Deep Creek Elementary School: Art; water colors and paper. Music; repairs on instruments, violin equipment, and ukuleles.

Kingsway Elementary School: Art; oil pastel, watercolors, and paper, music. Repairs on instruments, music, equipment, and new instruments. 

Liberty Elementary School: Art; paper and markers. Music; repairs on instruments, music, equipment, and new instruments.

Meadow Park Elementary School: Art; paper and supplies. Music; portable speaker and mics.

Myakka River Elementary School: Art; oil pastel, paper, clay, and glazes. Music; strings for repairs, percussion repair, new instruments and music.

Neil Armstrong Elementary School: Art; paper, tape, markers, and watercolors, music - repairs on instruments, music, equipment, and new instruments.

Peace River Elementary School: Art; loom, weaving, and paper supplies. Music; instrument repairs, instruments and supplies.

Sallie Jones Elementary School: Art; paper, colored pencils, and watercolors. Music; repairs on instruments, music, equipment, and new instruments.

Vineland Elementary School: Art; paper, clay, colored pencils, and glazes. Music; repairs on instruments, music, equipment, and new instruments.

Charlotte Harbor Center: Art; large crayons, paper, large markers, and colored pencils.

Children's Theater: Asolo's Romeo and Juliet for all 7 secondary schools, Performance of Junie B. Jones for all 10 elementary schools and Charlotte Harbor Center, Sarasota Opera for chorus, Sarasota Ballet for second grade, performance of Tomas and the Library Lady for all 10 elementary schools and Charlotte Harbor Center.

Athletics: $13,937 spent

Pay-to-participate removed from high school athletics, completely funds transportation of athletes to games

Paraprofessionals: $46,393 spent

15 paraprofessionals added at the elementary level

Safety and Security: $41,540 spent

One security aide added at each middle and high school, and Charlotte Harbor Center, one dean of students added to Punta Gorda Middle School and Lemon Bay High School

Workforce: $0 spent (so far) 

The plan is to spend an estimated $100,000 for an airframe and power plant program at Punta Gorda Airport

ESE Liaisons and Behavioral Specialists: $65,316 spent

 Five ESE liaisons added to the schools, three behavior specialists added to the schools

Social Workers and Psychologists: $55,490 spent

Four social workers added to the schools, three psychologists added to the schools

Professional Development: $2,846 spent

Critical concepts/standards training, support personnel professional development, literacy and math professional development

Academic Coaches: $25,906 spent 

Three literacy coaches (one at elementary, one at middle, one at high school level) and three math coaches added (one at elementary, one at middle, and one at high school level)

Division of Learning Initiatives: $25,500 spent

PSAT funding added, items purchased for each elementary school for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program; set of 18 iPads, LulzBot Mini 2.0 3D printer, 12 Spheros Robots, items identified by STEM teachers for purchase to enhance implementation of purchased gear with remaining referendum STEM funds

Competitive Salary and Benefits: $1,442,309 spent

"Salaries ... of the school system who are considered to be in positions of a permanent nature," CCPS documents state.

For more information about the oversight committee and spending visit: yourcharlotteschools.net/Page/24073

Email: Brianna.Kwasnik@yoursun.com

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