Monday, October 22, 2018

Hernando schools superintendent to present budget priorities to cash-strapped School Board

Amidst tough conversations about how to fund new school safety measures recently required by state, Hernando County schools Superintendent Lori Romano is set to present to the School Board items she thinks should make the cut into the district's budget for 2018-2019.

The 52-item list, attached to the agenda for the board's 2 p.m. workshop Tuesday, does not include dollar amounts or specifics on each item. However, many of them would be likely be heavy lifts for an already strapped School Board considering a tax increase.

Romano listed a few items related to school safety, like school resource officers and a district safety official, which are required by S.B. 7026, or the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. The legislation was signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March, about a month after a shooting at the Broward County school, and outlines requirements intended to make schools in the state more secure.

The superintendent also called for 5 percent pay raises for teachers, as well as for district- and school-based administrators, "professional/technical employees," and "confidential employees." No details were provided on the exact positions some of those terms include.

Other hot topics listed:

  • TRANSPORTATION: Reinstatement of courtesy busing (for students who live less than 2 miles from their school), purchase of additional buses, increase bus driver pay by at least $1.40 per hour
  • TECHNOLOGY: Replacement of 1,532 computers; standardization of technology tools in every classroom; wireless internet for all schools; one-to-one devices for all students
  • ADDED PERSONNEL: Addition of 10 mentors for struggling teachers; addition of a recruiter; reinstatement of school positions cut in previous years; addition of seven speech and language pathologists and 15 Exceptional Student Education, or ESE, teachers; at least 80-cent/hour pay increase for non-instructional staff; addition of school psychologists
  • SCHOOLS: Music and art programs at all schools; expansion of Urban Gentleman and Leading Ladies programs at all elementary and middle schools; media specialists for all schools; theater at Weeki Wachee High School

Romano could not immediately be reached for comment by the Tampa Bay Times.

See the entire list here.

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