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Hernando School Board approves tentative $279.5 million budget

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board adopted a tentative budget for the 2013-14 school year on Tuesday that will end in positive territory without a need for large cuts to schools as the district has seen in recent years.

During the district's first public budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, officials projected they will end the year with about $4.64 million in reserves, or 3.07 percent of estimated revenue.

The reserve estimate would put the district just above the minimum required to keep Hernando off the state's watch list.

"It is a much better picture this year than it has been the past three years," said Heather Martin, the district's executive director of business services. "No question."

But, she cautioned: "We still need to be fiscally responsible and not dip into the fund balance."

Of that ending fund balance, roughly half is restricted or assigned for specific purposes.

With little discussion, the board adopted the tentative budget of $279.5 million by a 5-0 vote. That budget includes total general fund revenues of about $156 million, up $6.6 million from the previous school year. The budget also includes nearly $17.7 million of the ending fund balance for the 2012-13 school year.

The School Board also unanimously adopted a tentative millage rate of 7.280 for 2013-14, a decrease from the previous year. This year's millage rate means that someone with a home assessed at $125,000 and a $25,000 homestead exemption would pay $728, or roughly $17 less than last year.

The Hernando School Board will hold the second and final public hearing on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at the school district's main offices, 919 N Broad St. in Brooksville.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Follow him on Twitter @HernandoTimes.

Hernando School Board approves tentative $279.5 million budget 07/30/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:29pm]

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