JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- What a difference a year makes. This time last year, parents were worried that sports, art, and P.E. classes would be cut from Duval County public schools. But this year, the $1.6 billion DCPS budget was adopted with no fireworks.
School Board Member Tommy Hazouri said, "Luckily, we're kind of breaking even this year."
The change this year comes from a slight influx of money from the state. Governor Rick Scott pledged $1 billion to Florida schools. Duval County's cut was $19 million.
School Board Member Becki Couch said, "In general, in the state of Florida, received $1 billion back, from the $2 billion that was cut. It wasn't completely restored, but we did get part of that money back. So that helped offset some of the cuts that we made the previous year."
"He really hasn't given us anything," said Hazouri of Scott. "He's just bringing us up a third of where we were two years ago."
So, the school district is still operating on $43 million less than it was last year. Salaries are still down. There still aren't as many DCPS employees. But the district's financial situation better. Good enough, in fact, to add 600 new teachers.
Hazouri said, "We have a balanced budget, which is always what it's about. And hopefully we can move forward in teaching our children and graduate them."