Charlotte County Public Schools

The superintendent of Charlotte County Public Schools provided a detailed breakdown of where the district’s tax referendum dollars have been spent so far.

At last month’s Independent Referendum Oversight Committee 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.

• Art and Music Programs: $43,825 spent

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

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

Murdock Middle: Art paper, colored pencils, watercolors, and markers. Ban, instrument repairs.

Port Charlotte Middle: Art paper and supplies. Band instrument repair and supplies. Chorus, music and supplies.

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

East Elementary: Metallic markers, metallic crayons, and colored pencils. Music, percussion instruments and music.

Deep Creek Elementary: Water colors and paper. Music, repairs on instruments, violin equipment and ukuleles.

Kingsway Elementary: Oil pastel, watercolors, and paper, music. Repairs on instruments, music, equipment and new instruments.

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

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

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

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

Peace River Elementary: Loom, weaving, and paper supplies. Music; instrument repairs, instruments and supplies.

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

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

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

• Some more expenditures:

Children’s Theater: Asolo’s “Romeo and Juliet” for all seven 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:


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