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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

NCT's senior class may go to nation's capital


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BROOKSVILLE - The school board will consider for final approval Tuesday an out-of-state field trip for Nature Coast High School's senior class to visit Washington, D.C.

If approved, the trip would take place March 26-30, according to a copy of the draft, and students will be able to do fundraising to offset costs of the trip.

According to a request form filed by NCT teacher and trip sponsor, Tara Ferlita, the trip will cost $600 per student, each of whom will be responsible for paying their own way.

Students will visit museums, monuments, hold discussions and take photographs on the trip, according to the draft.

The school board will also consider at their meeting Tuesday final approval to join "The Small School District Council Consortium," which is a statewide legislative network of about 20 school districts with a student population of less than 24,000.

The council seeks to obtain greater funding from the state Legislature for smaller school districts, due to perceived inequities in the state's education funding formula.

"Total funding within the (state education funding formula) for 2013-14 is $18,277,633,493, almost $500 million below total funding appropriated in 2007-08," reads a copy of the council's 2014 legislative priorities. "The Florida Legislature is requested to fully fund all components of the (state education funding formula) and, at a minimum, appropriate funding sufficient to restore prior funding levels."

According to the council's draft of priorities, other primary initiatives include increases in state funding for education technology modernization, school transportation, special facility construction projects, the Florida Retirement System, funding for public education and local capital outlay, as well as support for locally elected officials, and local control.

The school board will also consider for final approval Tuesday switching to electronic fund transfers as a primary method for direct deposits, funds withdrawal, investments or transfers, according to a copy of the agenda item.

The draft further states the school board would delegate authority to School Superintendent Lori Romano, who would operate and administer the district's EFT program, and the Finance Department would be responsible for daily management of district bank balances, as well as general oversight of EFT activity.

To protect assets in the EFT program, it will be subject to the same financial policies, procedures and controls that govern disbursement by any other means, the draft states.

The board's pending vote follows a June 30, 2012, audit by the Auditor General's Office, which issued a list of audit findings that included electronic funds transfers.

The Auditor General's Office recommended the board adopt written policies and procedures related to EFTs, including the use of electronic signatures.

"Such policies and procedures should ensure that the duties of making EFTs and changing account information are appropriately separated," the audit states.

This policy received tentative approval during a November school board workshop.

The school board will first hold a workshop at 2 p.m. Tuesday and then their board meeting at 7 p.m., both at the district office beside Brooksville Elementary School.

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