DCPS announces changes to proposed budget plan, includes restoring arts, music, and PE funding

Jacksonville, FL — As Duval County Public Schools faces a $62 million budget hole, we've learned cuts to arts, music, and physical education funding are now being taken off the table.

In their previous budget recommendation, the district administration proposed changes to the frequency of these classes in elementary schools to help save more than $2 million. Under that plan, the district would have assigned staff by using a ratio to students.

Instead, DCPS says the frequency will remain the same, so students should see no changes to the level of these classes at their schools this upcoming school year, when compared to last school year. However, this assumes that enrollment levels remain about the same.

"Arts, music, and physical education provide important developmental experiences for children. I am thankful the Board is supportive of other strategies to balance the budget and that we will continue this district's commitment to arts, music, and physical education," says Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene in a statement released Tuesday.

In order to keep funding levels the same, the district says it's recommending delaying its objective to build its unassigned reserve funds over the minimum level.

The district's Chief Financial Officer, Michelle Begley, says they had originally hoped to move the reserves closer to the 5% mark, but with a per-student allocation from the state of just 47 cents per-student this year, it isn't the right time to reach that goal.

The district says the total of assigned and unassigned reserve funds is about 4.75%, which is above the required 3%.

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