A Sarasota County schools report released Friday afternoon has identified the potential to save $23.1 million in five years to offset tax revenue shortfalls.
MGT of America, a firm hired to identify potential cuts during a downturn in the economy, issued a list Friday of 89 recommendations and options for the district.
The cuts included some recommendations that are only possible through union bargaining.
The study also confirmed that the school district's salaries and compensation rates are among the highest in Florida. When adjusted for cost of living, MGT notes the pay is competitive nationally.
Only 16 of the 89 suggestions will have a fiscal impact on the district. Other recommendations include changes in practice, including eliminating provisions to allow board-paid time for union leaders to conduct union business.
The MGT study cost $114,500. Funding was provided by Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Argus Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, business groups, and individual businesses and community members. “We appreciate the high level of cooperation from Sarasota County Schools in this review,” said Dr. Mark Pritchett, senior vice president for community investment at Gulf Coast, in a news release. “It was clear to MGT that the primary interest of the community and the district is improving efficiencies to best serve our students.”
The study provides information for the Sarasota County School Board in advance of a budget workshop on March 13. Representatives of the study’s funders group will attend the workshop.
The executive summary and full report from MGT of America are available on the Gulf Coast Community Foundation website at GulfCoastCF.org and on the Sarasota County Schools website at SarasotaCountySchools.net.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].