Crucial year for Charlotte County Schools

District hopes for higher enrollment, tax increase

PUNTA GORDA, Fla - A lot is on the line for the Charlotte County School District, over the next the next 12 months.

At the top of the list, is convincing voters to approve a tax increase in 2018 that will raise an additional $15 million for the school district. 

"Other districts that have the referendums, get to throw some money at things we don't get to," district superintendent, Steve Dionisio says. "Like additional programs, additional staff, things of that nature. Our teachers and support staff do it within the means that we have."

The budget has been tight for years, in large part, because of declining enrollment. That's already led to budget cuts and the elimination of more than five dozen teaching positions.
 
This year's incoming kindergarten class offers at least some encouraging news.
 
"We have a good size kindergarten class coming in, so we're hopeful we'll be [even on enrollment for] this year. Which is all you can hope for, when you've [had] declining [enrollment], even is good," Dionisio says.
 
Although money is tight, Dionisio says the district will not scrimp on safety. Last April the district reviewed it's security policies after a 15-year-old threatened violence at The Academy School in Port Charlotte. 
 
"We've had a huge, huge influx of safety measures over the last few years, from single point entry campuses, to just re-enforcing the concept of making sure that you listen to kids," Dionisio says. 
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