Marion Schools Outlines Financial Challenges, Decisions Ahead of School Year

Schools across the state continue to face difficult financial decisions as they prepare for the start of a new school year.

That includes Marion Schools in Osceola County.

For schools like Marion, when the first financial projections came from the state several months ago, Superintendent Chris Arrington said it did not paint a pretty picture of what was to come.

“We had our backs to the wall financially for quite some time. Then when the when the rumors of a $650 cut for the school year surfaced, that really put us in a scramble. While the recent news of $170 is still hurtful, it’s really is almost a relief, and it sounds crazy to get a cut that big and be a relief,” said Arrington.

The school board will look at a plan Tuesday that includes one staff layoff, not replacing a secretary and some sacrifices from teachers.

“Originally we had our finance committee meetings and we were looks at 10 percent pay cuts across the board. So what’s on the table now to be approved hopefully at Tuesday’s board meeting is a tentative agreement between the board and the MSEA, the teachers union, which includes a 2% concession,” said Arrington.

The superintendent also offered to step down to alleviate more pressure on the budget, but the board asked him to stay. Arrington says more challenging financial conversations are likely to come.

“It’s a dual edges sword and all school districts are experiencing both edges of that sword. The most challenging time in at least modern history for schools with COVID and then you add to that at the financial stress that it brings, and it makes it incredibly difficult to go about our business in the way that still productive and meaningful for kids,” said Arrington.


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