Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BPS Superintendent First Draft Budget Includes $18 Million in Cuts; Potential Job Loss of 345 Positions

VIERA, Florida – Brevard Public Schools could save almost $18 million if the board accepted Dr. Brian Binggeli’s first draft of budget cuts for the 2014-2015 school year.  However, this budget would also eliminate 345 current jobs.

This list for 2014-15 does not include any school closures. 
Binggeli presented the list at Tuesday night’s BPS board meeting.  The board will vote on the budget in the summer.

He said this is a fluid list and will be reviewed by parent groups, community leaders, and others before it is finalized.
“We won’t know what the funding really looks like until May,” Binggeli said.  “We have had more input this year (on this list) than we have ever had before.  We must begin to prepare strategically if the November half-cent sales tax does not pass.”

However, Binggeli said that if the proposed half-penny sales tax does not pass in November, BPS may have to close up to four schools, outsource custodial services and force athletes to “pay-to-play” in 2015-16.
Also, he said that school and department budgets would be immediately cut by 5% in 2014-15 and sent to the capital budget for “failure needs” if the tax vote fails.

Included in potential job losses for 2014-15 are all elementary music, art, media specialist positions in the 55 BPS elementary schools.  Secondary schools would potentially lose media specialists and assistants, campus monitors, guidance service professionals, dual enrollment guidance counselors.
Binggeli noted that two line items will be cut regardless of funding levels.  He said that eliminating the practice of refunding unused after-school child care payments will save $1 million.  As well, a reduction of the fine arts budget by 15% saves the district $60,000.

As well, Binggeli said that a budgetary practice “new to BPS” would also be implemented.  Schools and departments will only receive 75% of their yearly funding at the start of the school year.  They would get the balance in January.
“Principals will need to throttle back their spending at the beginning of the year,” he said.  “We will borrow from ourselves to (make payroll and) avoid $600,000 in interest payments.”  He said that BPS paid that amount in 2007 when met with a budget shortfall because they borrowed money on a short-term loan.

He also said that if state funding is increased some previously cut items might be recovered, including an additional planning period for secondary teachers, summer school, and corridor busing.


  1. Look at the demographic of Brevard county. Likely this 1/2 cent tax will not pass because we all pay school tax whether or not we have children in school. I don't see how citizens will want to pay even more money. Also, instead of threatening residents with an ultimatum, how about reorganizing the way the money is spent and eliminate some of the overpaid administration to spend more money on the teachers and children. Don't hold your citizens hostage. This is absolutely ludicrous!!!

    1. No, you are a crotchet old drain on our healthcare system, you want to shortchange future generations because you didn't plan your retirement properly. I hate curmudgeons like you, always full of bitterness, greed and hate. Sacrificing the next generation for your own selfish interests. How about you go back to the state you retired from and leave this one alone?

      It is a HALF cent you dolt! We all pay for things we don't use, it's called society. I don't like supplementing your retirement, but I do. I don't like supplementing corporations, but we give them every tax break in the world.

      Lets look at this proposal a second:

      Media Specialist: IE, Library/Computer Lab aides/support. These people already make less than pennies, yet they do an incredible job and primarily assist the STUDENTS. Our kids do not need to be excited about learning technology or discovering books do they? Why not cut some of the 6 figure a year Psychologists and Deans?

      Killing Art & Music, how nice. No culture for our kids, just drill and kill for standardized tests, YEAH!! More standardized morons with narrow opinions and no culture, unable to think for themselves! Way to go Florida!

      25% (potentially 30%) of the operating capital gone: Books, desks, presentation aids, computers, supplies, janitorial supplies, and-on-and-on, everything cut just to make payroll and kooks like you want to oppose a half a cent?

      You are telling me that you cannot cough up 50 cents when you spend a hundred dollars to improve the education of the future leaders of this community and America? Sad, Pathetic, greedy soul you are..

      In 2008, tourist spent 450 million dollars shopping at Brevard shops, those are SALES figures. In other words a half cent sales tax would have brought $2,250,000 to the school system. (http://www.landsofflorida.com/County-Data-For-Brevard-County-Florida)

      The citizens are not being held hostage, you and the misers like you are holding our future hostage and shortchanging the youth of our community, not to mention your neighbors who will lose there jobs in this proposal. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    2. Oh my friend you are so off base. You must not have read my comment carefully. Firstly, I am young and have children in school. Secondly, I never said I was against the sales tax. I am against all of the unnecessary spending and misappropriation of funds. That is the reason our children can't enjoy the sports, music and arts programs like we did. Lastly, I was born and raised here and I find it completely ignorant of you to accuse me of being a "crotchet old drain on our healthcare" and "Greedy" because you misunderstood what I had to say. There is no doubt the sales tax would bring in lots of money for our schools but what good is that if it will be misused as well? I am tired of my children's education being threatened because I have no control over the decision of the majority. That is a "hostage" situation. Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but not notice the log in your own?

    3. You said: "I am tired of my children's education being threatened because I have no control over the decision of the majority."

      The decisions are made by the school board, acting on recommendations of the super. Hardly the "majority". What action have you taken to address your grievances to the school board? I have personally spoken to every one of them, in fact I have rebuked them both publicly, and privately. I find it offensive that they get paid at all, let alone the retirement and health benefits. if they were concerned about the governance of the school district they would have already cut their pay and benefits package. Instead they cut people in your kids school and vote themselves raises.


      you said: "There is no doubt the sales tax would bring in lots of money for our schools but what good is that if it will be misused as well?"

      For starters it will save 345 jobs. Also not mentioned here is the next round of possible school closings. I am told that Stevenson Elementary and Audubon Elementary are on the block next. How many families will be affected by that? How many jobs lost? More community and arts schools gone.

      I can handle 50¢ on very $100 I spend. People buy phone apps for more than that on a whim, people pay for 8$ lattes at starbucks as fast as they can pour em. Why is 1/2¢ sales tax so bad? It really is nothing on our level, I bet I toss more change than it will cost me a year in my car ashtray monthly.

      You say that you do not oppose it, then say what good will it do? Nice mixed message. Yes the admin salaries need re-evaluation, yes we likely have too many of them. Yes, there may be some savings found by looking harder at where money is spent and why. It does not mean the 1/2¢ tax should be shot down again.

      Saying "they will just misuse it anyway" and letting the 1/2¢ fail again isn't going to fix anything, in fact it will make things worse. What kind of game is that to play with the education of our youth? Me, I'd rather see the tax implemented and some jobs and schools saved.

      Care to cite some examples of what you consider unnecessary spending?

    4. Laugh Out Loud!! Where will we draw the line?

  2. Wait..WTF??

    "Binggeli noted that two line items will be cut regardless of funding levels. He said that eliminating the practice of refunding unused after-school child care payments will save $1 million. "

    So a parent who overpaid will no longer be issued a refund, instead the district will just STEAL it. I am all for the 1/2 cent tax, it is reasonable. This, this however stinks. It certainly doesn't seem moral. How can they just decide to pocket these funds?

    It is called theft of service if I receive services at a business and do not pay, what is it called when I pay ahead (something they very much encourage you to do in Brevard schools) to be prepared and then that money is taken without any service being delivered to me?

    Guess they will pay people to call and do collections now as I will not be paying ahead, in fact I will be sure I pay last minute/late to avoid paying for services I do not receive.

  3. "In 2012, an average principal received $93,000 in salary and benefits annually"...
    Well, I certainly know where we can get 3 or 4 million if we bring these salaries down to a reasonable level...

    1. Did you know that the Brevard School District paid a lobbying firm between 2002 and 2009 nearly a quarter of a million dollars?


      Did you know that school board members make about 35-40K? Yep BOARD members, they happen to be ranked 19th highest paid in the state. (out of the 68 counties in Florida) How much is that per meeting?

      The average teacher salary in Brevard is 40K! 57th out of 68. Note the glaring disparity.


      How about the fact that we have 30 Psychologists on staff and they average 59K, making them the 26th highest paid in the 68 counties of Florida?

      Another glaring disparity is in the number of and pay of classroom aides. they average 14K a year. YEP less than $10 an hour, yet they work when teachers do, have very demanding jobs that require them to be hip to hip with students all day long. They are 64th out of 68 counties in pay. The districts three data entry clerks average 32K for sitting on their butts typing all day. The aides that help raise test scores, help the kids that need it the most, well we just hose them. Call your local school, ask if you can observe an EBD classroom for a day, trust me you will feel outrage at what these sainted souls do day in and day-out..

      Yeah, lots of room for improvement, but give the teachers a break, no one else does...

  4. you don't have to get rid of anything, just rethink it. all those labs have lab fees and the arts also have fees. all those classes can pay for themselves, and the school can still cut their budget. You already have the materials for these classes bought and paid for. you can however raise the lab fee and art fees for the classes to cover the shortfall. lets not skimp on our futures children. Figure it out even if you have to take a cut in pay yourself or contribute some of your income to cover the cost of educating the children.

  5. 43% of Brevard students qualify for free or reduced lunch, IE are living in poverty.


    How do you propose they pay? Should they just go without those classes since they were born poor?

    You cannot squeeze blood from a turnip..

    Charging more fees that people cannot pay isn't the answer. The 1/2cents sales tax IS.

    1. So I guess 57% don't qualify because they have parents who work hard for a living and have to support the 43% who were born to people who live off the system so why not tax them even more ??? HUH??? Yeah stick your poor poverty speech somewhere else.
      The so called poverty are the ones you see carrying the full grocery bags and displaying their EBT cards for freebies all over the place.
      Move to some other county and leave the taxpayers alone. CUT its time to wake up and let the people who work hard to PROVIDE for their respective families live a decent life.

    2. Bet you wax poetic about how great America is on the fourth of July and fly a flag too? Glad I went to war so I could come back and listen to hateful bigots like you tell me how all this people are "living off the system" and because of it, we shouldn't care about their kids. How about my kids? I make 6 figures, have never received EBT anything and their school is losing employees that HELP THEM LEARN, so they don't end up a close-minded moron like YOU. What the hell is left to cut? Have you even read the budget? Can your feeble mind understand it? Is it any wonder Florida schools lag behind with meat-headed positions like yours dominating this bowl-circling county.

      Tell me mr-supporting-everyone, how is it the 5 year-old kids fault his parents are poor and cannot pay? Tell me again why he should be punished?

      Its a wonder you can actually provide for your family with that attitude, bet you are a real team player. FOAD!

    3. You sir sound like a bleeding heart liberal. They always personally attack others and ignore the facts, as you have done here. They love to bring up the poor little kid sympathy routine too, also as you have done.

      People are tired of supporting these unions and a school system saturated with overhead it does not need. I know many that will be voting against this tax. Trust me here and just watch what happens if you don't believe this, but if by some miracle this tax passes, it won't be but 3 or 4 years and they will come again and ask for still more money. I've lived here for 45 years and I've seen this time and time again by this school board.

      You simply can't get them to function within budget and a sales tax increase won't fix it. I won't be voting for it either.

  6. Let me rewrite the budget. I'm, for all intensive purposes, a single mom, with three children in elementary school. I am for the half cent tax increase as long as it goes into the schools. What I am not for are all the unnecessary things that go on. My kids go to Sun tree Elementary...I have a third grader that will go on three field trips this year...three...I understand the free breakfast...no child left out...but qualify for it. This would save money. Eliminate the many choices for lunch...go back to the old way...we all survived just fine...anyways obesity is more of a problem now than it was twenty years ago...pay to play sports....let's just push the video games and couches in front of our children...

    We need to be for the sales tax increase but against the budget...people don't need to lose their jobs because the misalocatted funds...put the funds where they belong and make better choices. Get rid of unneccassary activities...

    1. The district, like EVERY DISTRICT in the state of Florida is legally required to offer the breakfast program. It is federally subsidized, and has good reason behind it.


      I like that you care, but blaming breakfast and field trips for the districts finical woes is not realistic, nor grounded in reality. What were the field trips? What curricular goal did they support? Was it enriching for the students? Provided they have those answers, you shouldn't care if it is ten field trips. We are talking about educational experiences for the children.

      I do not agree that activities should be cut. Cut that extravagant palace in Viera, cut the assistants and assistants to the assistants. Cut pay for the board (36K + Medical, dental, retirement? Really?) Cut the Psychologists, cut some of that insane IT department, how many programmers does a school district need? What do the half dozen analysts do?

      Why do "data entry specialists" make more than DOUBLE (32K) what a 1on1 instructional aide does? My wife is an instructional aide, she makes about 15K a year. She is in a class helping students hip to hip all day, every day, she doesn't even get a lunch break away from them. The school secretaries make more than her for goodness sake. She is qualified, has experience, is great at what she does, but gets paid like a McDonalds worker.

      The computers in her room haven't worked all year, she didn't even have access to her district required email until November, just what the hell do all these IT people do? seriously, go to the District website, find the IT department Org chart, then go start looking up those salaries. It is obscene. The waste isn't happening at the local school level, it is the district overhead and administration.

    2. You can't fix out school system with more money. If this was the case, we'd already have the finest schools in the world.

      No, we don't need this sales tax increase. We need better school management.

  7. DO NOT vote "yes" on this sales tax! Binggeli is now trying to scare the public into voting "yes" by telling you all the horrible things that will happen if this does not pass. However, when local parent groups have asked BPS to open their books so they can take a closer look at some of the distrcit's spending, BPS refuses!

    Folks, let's look at some facts. When Mr. Binggeli arrived we were an "A" district and over 90% of our schools were "A" schools. We are now a "B" district with around 60% of our schools receiving an "A" rating. Mr. Binggeli wants to pass the blame, but HE HAS NO ANSWERS for the problems! Throwing more money will not solve anything!!!

    Yes, this county is VERY top heavy! When Mr. Binggeli spouts off that most of the salary money goes to teachers, he is not being honest. Jobs such as counselors, Guidance Service Professionals, Resource Professionals...etc, are classified as TEACHERS here in Brevard, even though they do not have a classroom! Let's not forget we have a Superintendent making over $200K a year, plus his staff, THREE Area Superintendents, all with staff, and ..get ready for it...each Area Superintendent has an ASSISTANT! Ask any teacher and they will tell you Viera is a money-pit, yet you do not Binggelli or the board talking about cutting down there!

    Oh, and whomever posted that the school board members make MORE in their part-time position than many FULL TIME TEACHERS, they are right!

    First thing first, let's vote the board out, then Mr. Binggelli can go (buy out his contract), and we can get some home-grown talent back into the Viera office that understands Brevard County and how to get things done locally. Brevard is an awesome district that will one day regain its Top-5 status in education, but not until we clean house.

    VOTE NO on the sales tax!

  8. full support for the teachers.. school board salaries are ridiculous...and your facts about the Pychologists is another headshaker for me. Thanks for the info as i am preparing to be a new brevard county resident.

  9. Questions no one is asking...

    Are banks paying taxes due on foreclosures they are holding?
    When property values skyrocketed during the housing bubble, what did the school baord do with the extra funds they collected?
    What repair projects did the school board approve when they had money instead of investing in new builds and taking out loans?
    Why was a super auditorium and football stadium in Viera High School more important that maintaining existing schools in other communities? How long did Rockledge and Cocoa share a stadium?? Does every high school have an auditorium?
    The problems have accumulated leading to the crisis now. Look back a few years to get an idea of the mismanagement, the favoritism, and the punitive nature of the dealings from this group.
    How about cutting pay for the superintendent? What is the benefit package?
    I will not hand these people more money until they face the truth of what they have done and publish an apology for it...otherwise known as never...

  10. Don't forget to vote in November, medical marijuana for Florida is on the ballot, help relieve suffering for cancer patients and helps seizures,


  11. I WILL NOT be voting for any tax increase. One has to be an idiot to willingly agree to a tax increase for any reason. They are taxing us to death already. We pay too much tax and EVERYTHING is taxed.

    No sir, I will not vote for any tax...

  12. NO MORE TAXES!!! Whatever we give them they waste on salaries for do nothing administrators. The education complex - a compendium of unqualified teachers, fat cat administrators, and union hacks is always ready to hold our children hostage so they can line their pockets with our tax dollars. And where do your tax dollars go? To Brevard schools? Hell no. The state takes them and redistributes them - wake up. NO MORE TAXES!!!!

  13. So why are they NOW looking at making these cuts? They should have made these cuts in the past. They said they are cutting all services considered non-essential. Are you kidding me? These should not be there in the first place.

    I am sick of paying so much tax and will not vote for still another tax for any purposes.

  14. Hey! They should be "lean and mean" right now. Honestly, they are such poor managers of our tax dollars that it makes me want to scream. They have an enormously huge budget and this fact alone just goes to show how they swell their ranks to meet the money they have. Apparantly nothing put aside to address maintenance, etc.

    I agree with others here, I won't vote for a tax increase for these turkeys to squander.

  15. The problem with voting on a school tax is when again their isn't enough money lets go back and raise it again, then again, then again, oh and lets raise it again. It will never end. For you all who have lived in Brevard county for a few decades go back and see what you paid in property tax in 1980 or 1990. I bet it has been increased astronomically. Also if I don't have kids in public school why should I pay anything at all. This too needs to be looked into. I dont think that retired people or people who's children have grown up should be required to pay school taxes at all.

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  18. Well, that’s when we get both good and bad news. On one hand, it’s very good to know that budget cuts can help public schools to save as much as $18 million but on the other hand, it’s awful to understand that 345 job positions can be closed. Really, it’s a massive figure and I can’t imagine that 345 people can be just fired. Thus, I think that it’s necessary to find a solution to save money and jobs. Otherwise teachers will have to check easy online loan place to make ends meet.