Orange County

How Does Orange County Compare to Philadelphia’s School District Budget?

Every county is experiencing the downfalls of budget cuts from the US Department of Education’s deductions. Although the budget cuts in Orange County, FL are expected to increase in 2014 a reported $70 million dollars, there may be other locations that are under worse circumstances.

For instance, the urban school district of Philadelphia, PA has been having major trouble with grabbing hold of the funds needed to fill the gap of a $304 million dollar budget deficit.

This year, the Obama administration gave 45 million dollars meant for the debt forgiveness of Philadelphia. Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania had been holding the release of the 45 million until Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union agreed to take a 10-20 percent pay cut.

The debt of the Philadelphia district has resulted in nearly 4,000 layoffs in teachers, administrators and staff. It is encouraged for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to agree the requirements of Gov. Corbett so that 1,000 employees of the district can be rehired.

This info-graphics below shows the comparison between Philadelphia County and Orange County:

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In comparison, the Orange County school district is a suburban location that is much more fortunate than Philadelphia. According to Fine Arts Coordinator of Orange County, Scott T. Evans, Orange County has at least one teacher in each school across the county. Philadelphia statistics say that one in four schools do not have a full time music teacher.

Unlike Philadelphia, Orange County was able to enact a one percent property tax increase to support budget cuts from the US Department of Education. Philadelphia, on the other hand, tried to enable a proposed $2 per-pack-tax on cigarettes, which was the plan of the city’s Mayor Nutter.

Scott Evans: Fine Arts Coordinator for Orange County Public Schools

Scott Evans has been the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Public School District of Orange County, FL for the past three years since September 2010.

Evans manages a group of resource teachers who work directly with the arts teachers of the Orange County school district.

“The resource teachers are there to help the teachers that are in the district to help them in their classrooms; help them become better teachers, help them improve what they do,” said Evans.

He is also directly involved in the process of writing the curriculum for the arts educators. This curriculum acts as a guide for the standardization of the how to educate children on the arts for the entire district.

The Orange County district also provides training programs for teachers in visual arts, music, dance and drama to set the tone for what is expected for the standardized curriculum. These training programs also help teachers to be aware and have a better knowledge of what is expected for the state standards of arts education.

“That’s our main role, is to really monitor the fidelity of arts education in our district,” he continued.

Evans also stated that Orange County did not get hit as hard as some of the other counties in Florida after the budget cuts went through about five years ago. He said that Orange county students are very fortunate to have at least one type of arts teacher, be it music or visual arts, in each school.

Moreover, Evans received a Master of Education degree in Music/Administration from the University of Central Florida. Prior to this, he attended the University of Massachusetts at Lowell where he received a Bachelor of Music and Education.

For more than 10 years he has taught as an arts educator for the Orange County public school district as a Choral Teacher. Evans has received two different awards in two different schools for teacher of the year in 1999 and in 2006. He received his National Board Certification in 2005.

Evans served as a guest presenter at the Florida Music Educators Association Conference and the choral Directors Association Conference. In addition, he has been a panelist in the State of Florida textbook adoption panel and for four Florida counties Evans has also been the guest clinician for honor choirs.

With his team of resource teachers, Evans and his team are setting the tone and vision for over 500 arts educators in the Orange County public school system.