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Art, Music, PE Spared From Duval Schools Budget Axe

Lindsey Kilbride
The Duval County Public Schools District headquarters building.

Duval County’s art, music and physical education teachers will be spared from budget cuts as students  prepare to head back to school next month.

District officials said Tuesday they no longer plan to cut funding for art, music and physical education teaching positions, according to our Florida Times-Union news partner.

Instead they plan to balance that part of the district’s budget by slowing down how fast they repay funds they borrowed from district reserves.

Related: 2018 Florida School Grades Database

The move means students will continue to have the same number and length of arts and gym classes as they had last year, depending on each school’s enrollment.

Also on Tuesday, the School Board voted unanimously to advertise plans to adopt a new budget for the 2018-19 school year that includes a drop in the school tax rate. It will be called a “notice of proposed tax increase” because property values have increased since last year and the district will collect more money, school and county officials said.

The district expects revenues of $1.731 billion, a 1.1 percent increase from $1.711 billion last year, said Michelle Begley, the district’s chief financial officer.

The school tax rate is 3 percent lower than a year ago, but increases in home values will mean most homeowners’ bills will go up, Begley said.

“With the increase in property values, the average taxpayer in Duval County will pay 2.76 percent more in school taxes this year because of the lower millage rate,” she said.

An expanded version of this story that includes a broader look at the district's budget and the arts program is on