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Please call Governor Rick Scott and ask him to protect Title I Schools

A message from Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd:

May 11, 2017

As Superintendent of Schools for Polk County, I’m appealing to the public like never before to understand the unfortunate financial situation that has overshadowed our school system.

We need your support to join other school districts across Florida in asking Governor Rick Scott to veto proposed cuts to the education budget.

***Contact: Please call 850-488-7146 or submit an e-mail at:

The Florida legislature has approved a budget that will leave us with $8 less per student this year than last year, and $174.60 less per student than 10 years ago.

We remain one of the lowest funded districts in the state, ranking 64th of 67 school districts in per-student funding. The funding shortfall for Polk County is $5.6 million, which equates to 80 instructional positions plus operating expenses.

Polk County is now the seventh largest school district in Florida, with 101,500 students -- 770 more students than Pinellas County, the next largest district. With that kind of growth in student population, the legislature’s budget makes it impossible for us to afford services for our schools to operate properly.

A major concern is also the education conforming bill that will impact spending of Title I funds. The bill contains Title I language that will have a negative impact on our neediest of schools. The bill was released on the last day of the session which killed a lot of the Committee work that occurred during the Session. There is no transparency! If this passes, we stand to lose 136 federal positions, including reading, math and science coaches, and support that has aided our low-performing schools.

Please ask Governor Scott to veto the education conforming bill - HB 7069.

What our state elected leaders are doing goes against Governor Scott’s legislative budget request of a 3 percent increase in total per-pupil funding and a $141.19 increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA). That will give our School District what it needs to provide a quality education for our students. Governor Scott needs to hear your voice. Without it, I fear the worst.

Please help us in our cry to do what’s right for our children and teachers.

***Please share your thoughts with the governor by calling 850-488-7146 or submitting an e-mail at:

Spread the word to your friends, family, neighbors and fellow Floridians. Thank you in advance for your support.

Jacqueline M. Byrd
Polk County Public Schools