Thursday, April 19, 2018
Education

Hernando School Board gives nod to proposal for increased fund balance

BROOKSVILLE — A plan to build a larger cushion into the Hernando County School District's budget has won the support of School Board members.

During a workshop Tuesday, board members gave tentative approval to a policy requiring the district to work to maintain a balance of 5 percent of the general fund budget. The state requires a fund balance of no less than 3 percent. The district doesn't have its own policy.

Superintendent Lori Romano spoke forcefully for the safeguard.

"It is the fiscally responsible thing for a board to do," Romano said.

During a brief presentation, Hernando school officials said the new policy would enhance the long-term financial integrity of the district and create better cash flow, as well as ensure more stability in an economic downturn. It would provide more money should an emergency occur and help maintain strong bond ratings.

The specific policy says the School Board "shall endeavor to maintain its target operating fund balance at 5 percent." If the budgeted ending fund balance falls below that target, the superintendent would be required to develop a plan to reach that level.

The district has a projected operating fund balance of 3.21 percent, which equates to roughly $4.85 million. To reach a fund balance of 5 percent, the district would need roughly $7.5 million, said the district's chief financial officer, George Gall.

Board Chairman Matt Foreman asked if the 5 percent goal was possible since the district had not been at that level before.

"I think it is very realistic," Romano said, noting that the district isn't quite there yet. "We need to value and honor and believe that this is the right thing to do to protect our employees and our positions."

Board member Cynthia Moore agreed.

"We need to have that money available," Moore said. "We're responsible for teachers, paraprofessionals, technical-support people. We need to think about what would happen if something tragic happened."

Board member Dianne Bonfield recalled the "scary" times when the district dipped below a 3 percent fund balance.

"I think it's pretty aggressive, but I do think it's forward-looking," Bonfield said. "I'm on board. I'm very curious about how we get there."

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

Comments

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Updated: 8 hours ago
After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

After Parkland, these students became activists. Will their movement last?

TAMPA — Sam Sharf’s parents thought he had the best position on the Plant High School football team. As back-up quarterback, he could impress the girls but rarely played enough to get hurt.Now a junior, Sharf is off the team so he can focus his energ...
Published: 04/18/18

Gannon University’s Ruskin growth includes $21 million addition

RUSKIN — Gannon University is experiencing some serious growing pains and as a result, SouthShore is going to see a big change in the landscape. When it opened its doors in 2015 as a satellite campus for its home school in Erie, Pa., Gannon occupied ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Enrollment growth anticipated for Pasco County charter schools, with two more to open in the fall

Most of Pasco County’s more established charter schools expect to see their student population remain stable in 2018-19.Even so, enrollment in the county’s charter schools is expected to grow by about 1,100 children — or nearly 25 percent — in the fa...
Published: 04/17/18
Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

Sunlake High sophomore wins summer scholarship to Ringling College of Art and Design

LAND O’ LAKES — As a child, Taylor Young started doodling with crayons as a hobby. Now at age 16, this Sunlake High School sophomore has received a full scholarship, valued at $6,000, to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design Summer Pre-Colleg...
Published: 04/16/18
Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

Manatee County high school student calls for ‘bracott’

A Florida high school student who said she was told to cover up her nipples after not wearing a bra to school is planning a protest in response. Lizzy Martinez’ "bracott" will take place today at Braden River High in Manatee County, according to Twit...
Published: 04/16/18

School news for April 20

School Calendar• April 27: Progress reports• May 17-20: High school graduations.• May 25: Last day of school for students.Theatre/Art/MusicCenter for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7382.• J .W. Mitchell Hi...
Published: 04/16/18
Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

Hernando district fires all teachers at Moton Elementary, regardless of rating

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County School District leaders vowed last year in their turnaround plan for struggling Moton Elementary to remove all under-performing teachers if the school earned lower than a C grade from the state in 2018.But last week — mo...
Published: 04/14/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

Romano: Florida should not make fairness a moving target

The program I want to tell you about makes perfect sense. In many ways, it is fair and compassionate. Practical and wise.It is also an excellent example of Tallahassee’s pick-and-choose style of justice.The Legislature was gung-ho on passing a bill t...
Published: 04/14/18
New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

New Florida scholarship aims to boost third-grade readers

Third grader Gavin Kaechele’s mom, Laryssa, knew something was up when the 9-year-old used the word "invalidate" while preparing to take the Florida Standards Assessments last week."He said, ‘If I fidget in my chair, it could invalidate my test,’" La...
Published: 04/14/18