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School budget town meetings will include one online

LAND O' LAKES - The Pasco County School Board's annual town hall meetings on the school district budget are scheduled to take place during the next two weeks, but this year the board is trying something different.
Two board members, Allen Altman and Joanne Hurley, will co-host a virtual town hall meeting that will be aired on the district's television station and streamed live on the district website.
During the virtual town hall meeting, set for 6 p.m. May 29, Altman and Hurley will field questions and comments submitted by residents, either in advance or during the telecast.
It was Altman's idea to hold a virtual meeting.
“He thought that would be a good way to give people the opportunity to participate and not leave their house,” district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.
To submit questions, go to www.pascoschools.org or www.pasco.k12.fl.us and click on the budget town hall meetings link. Pasco residents also can submit questions or comments by leaving a message at (813) 602-1887 or (352) 363-1887.
The school district's television station, PETV, is channel 614 on Bright House cable and channel 40 on Verizon.
To view the virtual town hall, go to www.pasco.k12.fl.us/communications/videostream.
For those who prefer their town hall meetings in person, three school board members are still holding them the old-fashioned way, at school sites. All are at 6 p.m.
The schedule:
Wednesday, Seven Springs Middle School cafeteria, 2441 Little Road, New Port Richey; hosted by board Chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong.
May 28, Hudson High School minitheater, 14410 Cobra Way, Hudson; hosted by board member Steve Luikart.
May 30, River Ridge Middle/High School cafeteria, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey; hosted by board member Alison Crumbley.
At each meeting, there will be a presentation on the district's budget and recent changes that have been made in the district. Then, the hosting board member will take questions.
As has been the case for several years, the school board faces a multimillion-dollar revenue shortfall as it plans the 2013-14 budget.
Previously, that shortfall appeared to be about $19.5 million, and the board and Superintendent Kurt Browning had targeted ways to save money, such as working to meet the state class-size requirements and merging the positions of media specialist, literacy specialist and technology specialist into one job.
Last week, though, the board learned it might need to find an additional $7.9 million in cuts.
The board's first public hearing on the budget is at 6 p.m. July 30. The final public hearing and vote is 6 p.m. Sept. 17.

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