Okaloosa school district may gain control over school purse strings

Mary Beth Jackson nwfdn

Mary Beth Jackson

FILE PHOTO | Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 at 11:54 AM.

Okaloosa County schools' financial control might shift from principals to the district if a proposed plan gets approved. Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson asked the Okaloosa County School Board on Thursday to consider changing its longstanding funding policy after she noticed inequities.

Under the current site-based management model — adopted in the mid-1990s — each school received funding based on student enrollment and other elements such as its Parent Teacher Organization’s fundraising capacity.

Under the new plan, funding would be divided evenly between schools based on enrollment. This would ensure schools provide students the same educational opportunities, Jackson said.

Principals would only retain complete financial control in childcare, Title I and workforce education at Choice High School and Technical Center. They would receive a percentage of the dollars in some other areas. Principals, for example, would control 25 percent of their maintenance budget and 90 percent of the funding for science lab instructional materials.

Principals would get to choose the people they hired, but the district would identify the positions. Elementary schools with fewer than 600 students, for example, would have only one physical education teacher while those with 900 or more would get two.

The proposal's details will be presented this month when budget discussions for the 2014-15 school year begin in earnest.

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