Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough Board eyes 4-day summer school

TAMPA — Hillsborough officials are proposing a four-day summer school week as they look to cut another $26-million from this year's budget, a consequence of the dismal economy.

At a meeting Tuesday, School Board members discussed a plan to close all schools and offices on Fridays this summer — a move officials said would save at least $1.2-million.

But working parents would need to change child care arrangements. Hills­borough Out-of-School-Time, a day care program, enrolls an average of 3,000 students in the summer. Nearly 17,000 students participated last year in summer school classes that range from Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test academies to academic enrichment camps.

Hillsborough has yet to work out the details of a four-day week, which Pinellas school officials also are looking at to save money. The Hillsborough School Board is expected to vote on the summer schedule next month.

"It would put money on the table," Hillsborough deputy superintendent Ken Otero said. "It would prevent cuts in other areas."

But the budget picture could get even worse. The state recently finalized a 2 percent reduction for Hillsborough's current budget, on top of $45-million in budget cuts last year. School officials say they could face another $29-million hit later this year, based on Florida's grim revenue picture.

The four-day summer week is just the start of cost-saving measures under discussion. School officials plan to review everything from shorter schedules for some year-round employees to how many square feet of space each custodian should clean.

"We said from the beginning that we don't want to lay anyone off. We want to hold classrooms harmless," said School Board chairwoman Carol Kurdell. "Let's try to protect what our basic mission is, which is to educate children."

Except in rare cases, school officials are prepared to stop allowing teachers to defer their retirement beyond five years, an option in the state's retirement program. Though relatively few teachers qualify, school officials anticipate saving more than $4.5-million because these experienced instructors are among the highest paid.

School officials also are examining support staff positions at middle and high schools and how they allocate custodians, teacher aides and assistants and school administrators.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia plans to survey employees to get their input on the budget. But she cannot promise that the statewide financial picture won't get worse, requiring even more cuts locally.

Letitia Stein can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3400. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Hillsborough Board eyes 4-day summer school 11/25/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate


    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help


    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers


    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem


    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.