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State of Our Schools Breakfast May 22

By Staff | Apr 27, 2009

Superintendent James Brow-der is scheduled to address the business community for the 18th annual State of Our Schools Breakfast hosted by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.
The breakfast will be held at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on Friday, May 22, starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration for the breakfast begins at 7 a.m. Individual tickets to the event are $35 per person.
Each year Browder addresses business leaders and educators on the state of the school district and the event always follows a specific theme.
Marshall Bower, executive director of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, said that the breakfast is a chance for the superintendent to brief the community on the district’s progress as well as present his vision of the future.
“It’s mainly geared to the business community but anyone is invited,” explained Bower. “It is our version of the State of the Nation.”
In April 2008, the superintendent wore a Hawaiian shirt with a lei and sunglasses exuding a theme of “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” The 2009 theme hasn’t been released yet, said Bower, but it will center around sports and collaboration.
During his last address he began discussing the challenges facing the Lee County School District such as a struggling economy, lower student enrollment and state budget cuts. He nicknamed the phenomenon the “Perfect Economic Storm.”
For the first time ever the school district concluded a year with fewer students than it started with, he said. Projections had enrollment over 80,000 students but today the district has approximately 78,000.
The district is currently working on its new budget but this year’s budget was valued at $1.66 billion.
If the district has a shortfall of $50 million or more this year then 574 positions may be eliminated, according to estimates from the superintendent.
Besides outlining the economic woes of the school district, Browder also gives a synopsis of educational programs across the district and updates construction projects or school renovations.
The event’s major sponsors include: GATES, Southwest Florida College, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union and the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.
Contributing sponsors can also receive recognition at the event via written program and visual presentation for $700.
For more information on the event, contact the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools at 337-0433.