The Sarasota County School Board received an update on the 2021-2022 school year funding estimate from the Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget projection at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
“The Governor’s budget is based on the Department of Education’s forecast which closely mirrors our actual forecasted survey,” said Sarasota County Schools Budget Manager Christa Curtner. “We anticipate to have 42,996 FTE (full time enrolled students) next year, compared to 44,148 this year. This results in a net loss for the district. The revenue loss has been reflected in the Governor’s budget.”
Also in the projection is the anticipated CARES grant allocation, which will offset expenses from the general fund again next year, Curtner added.
In other news
Superintendent Brennan Asplen said there is still a shortage of substitutes in the district.
“Teachers have been filling in during their planning periods,” Asplen said.
Asplen has created a staffing committee this year to deal with instructional vacancies. “As positions become available, the committee can help schools so each one can be staffed appropriately.”
Michael Drennon, Sarasota County Department of Health updated the Board on COVID-19.
“We’ve started to see a decrease of reported cases in the county over the past 14 days,” Drennon said. “Our positivity rate is 3.63%. The highest was at nearly 8% on Jan. 14.”
Sue Meckler, director of curriculum, announced a new committee that will be reviewing and selecting new text books for 2022-2026.
‘Dr. Asplen on the Move’
“More than 170 teachers and committee members reviewed potential text books,” Meckler said. “We conducted an evaluation of materials that were submitted for adoption. This was the first time we did it virtually and I think that helped more teachers find the time to do it from home.”
Communications and Community Outreach Director Craig Maniglia said his department has been recording superintendent Brennan Asplen’s visits to schools in the county. The “Dr. Asplen on the Move” videos are posted on the district’s website for anyone to view.
“It’s a way to introduce our superintendent to parents and people in the community,” Maniglia said. “I believe these videos are playing a huge role in getting kids back to school.”
Sara Dan, director of food and nutrition services, announced plans to purchase new food services software for the district.
“The current Point of Service software is 15 years old and is no longer supported by the company,” Dan said. “The program we are looking at is called MCC software. It integrates the entire department’s management. The new system will also accept credit cards and will allow us to process lunch services more quickly, keeping the registers open even when the internet is offline.”
The cost of the software is $144,000 and it would come out of the capitol budget.
John Gilberto, of Cherry Bekaret CPA Advisors, updated the board on the results of the required annual audit.
“The financial statement disclosures are neutral, consistent and clear,” Gilberto said. “You are in compliance with everything.”
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 2.