Monday, December 11, 2017
Education

Eleven apply to be schools CFO but none make the grade

BROOKSVILLE — The search for the right person to manage the Hernando County school district's budget of more than $250 million has hit a bit of a snag:

None of the 11 candidates who applied were up to snuff.

"The pool doesn't seem to be too deep," said superintendent Bryan Blavatt. "Education financing is quite complicated. You really want someone who has some background."

The district is readvertising the position in hopes of filling it before budget season, the time when the district must prepare the upcoming year's budget. The new deadline to apply is March 6.

The job of chief financial officer, among the highest-paid positions in the district, has been vacant since Desiree Henegar resigned in January amid reports that she was posting sexually explicit material to her blog during work hours.

The district quickly began advertising the position after she left, originally posting it Jan. 7.

Eleven people applied. Six met the job description. Two had school district finance experience.

The requirements are high.

A candidate must have a master's degree in accounting or a related business field, or a valid Florida certified public accountant license, according to the job description. Other requirements include excellent communication and management skills.

An eligible candidate must also have had a previous leadership role.

In addition, the person must have knowledge of all federal requirements relating to public employer financial and accounting practices and knowledge of Florida statutes and administrative codes related to finance, employment and insurance, as well as School Board policies.

There are two main issues at play, says Blavatt:

One, the position is highly specialized. Two, Hernando pays less than many other counties.

"It really limits our pool of candidates," the superintendent said.

The starting salary for the job is advertised at $78,800 a year.

The average salary last year in Florida for school finance officers was $88,133.

Laura Shaud, president of the Florida School Finance Officers Association, agreed those two factors make it challenging to find qualified candidates.

A certified public accountant with a few years of experience in the private sector can make nearly the same amount as is being advertised in Hernando.

"I can tell you what I do here is more difficult than what I did with a CPA firm," said Shaud, who is director of budgeting for the Escambia County school system.

She said many districts struggle to find qualified chief financial officers.

"School district accounting is considerably different than other governmental accounting," she said.

Hernando has run into similar problems in the recent past.

The last time the district advertised for a chief financial officer, it only received nine applications. The advertised salary range at the time was from $66,572 to $75,650.

The average school financial officer in the state made considerably more.

The Hernando School Board, at the time, had a chance to bump the range up considerably, but rejected it due to budget concerns.

Board members eventually tweaked the starting salary, increasing it to $78,676 to help attract and retain someone with experience.

They offered Henegar the job in February 2009.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Comments
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot in her stomac...
Published: 12/08/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Hillsborough school district names Teacher of the Year finalists

Finalists were announced Tuesday for Hillsborough County Teacher of the year and other honors.Winners will be announced at a banquet on Jan. 16.The finalists for teacher of the year are: Jennifer Jackson, seventh grade science, Stewart Middle; Alexa ...
Published: 12/05/17
High school start times: Could they be a talking point in the 2018 Pinellas election?

High school start times: Could they be a talking point in the 2018 Pinellas election?

It’s been years since the Pinellas County School Board addressed high school start times.But if the issue isn’t resolved in the next few months, it could fall to voters as they decide on who should fill four out of seven School Board seats up grabs i...
Published: 12/05/17