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Hillsborough schools cut costs: $125 million in four school years

TAMPA

Tighten the belts.

That has been the mantra lately in the Hillsborough County School District, which has so far managed to avoid large-scale layoffs despite plunging tax revenues and declining enrollment. • Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has trimmed the administration and eked out savings in every division, from facilities to food services. Vacancies have been left open, support staffers and specialists have been spread more thinly, and class periods have been shortened. • And in a school district with 190,000 students, 250 schools and 25,000 employees, a little bit of trimming can add up to a lot of savings.

2007-2008

Action: Reorganized transportation system to create more efficient bus routes.

Estimated savings: $9,000,000

Action: Changed the high school teaching load from five to six periods daily, reducing the need to hire more teachers.

Estimated savings: $38,000,000

TOTAL: $47,000,000

2008-2009

Action: Reorganized administration and eliminated vacant positions after retirements.

Estimated savings: $5,311,048

Action: Reduced division budgets by 20 percent.

Estimated savings: $3,014,436

Action: Kept vacant positions open beyond a 90-day hiring freeze.

Estimated savings: $5,000,000

Action: Reorganized administrative positions in departments including human resources, business and facilities.

Estimated savings: $870,454

TOTAL: $14,195,938

2009-2010

Action: Ended Deferred Retirement Option Program extensions and filled retirees' positions with employees at lower pay.

Estimated savings: $8,016,576

Action: Decreased the number of guidance counselors and support specialists per student at the elementary, middle and high school level.

Estimated savings: $4,847,330

Action: Decreased the number of media and technology specialists per student at the high school level.

Estimated savings: $385,000

Action: Decreased the number of work days for ROTC instructors, psychologists, social workers, diagnosticians, staffing specialists, transition specialists, health assistants and technical center staffers.

Estimated savings: $1,500,000

Action: Decreased the number of teaching days or minutes for art, music, PE, strings and elementary foreign language teachers.

Estimated savings: $3,560,000

Action: Switched to four-day, 10-hour work weeks during the summer.

Estimated savings: $1,844,595

Action: Reduced staffing levels at middle and high schools.

Estimated savings: $2,299,635

Action: Revised bids for materials and services, and made all contracts negotiable on an annual basis on items ranging from milk and pizza to automated telephone services.

Estimated savings: $2,275,927

Action: Decreased ratio of kindergarten aides per student.

Estimated savings: $3,000,000

Action: Brought contracted services in-house for facilities division, set thermostats to 76 degrees, set chillers to make ice during cooler evening hours.

Estimated savings: $3,335,000

Action: Closed school system during Thanksgiving week.

Estimated savings: $334,087

Action: Spent federal stimulus money on staff training.

Estimated savings: $8,415,050

TOTAL: $39,813,200

2010-2011

Action: Reorganized the middle school schedule from six periods per day to seven, reducing the need for extra teachers to meet new state class size requirements.

Estimated savings: $12,268,820

Action: Analyzed cell phone usage, decreased the use of BlackBerrys and other costly devices.

Estimated savings: $94,535. Over the next five years: $472,675.

Action: Moved from purchasing to a lease program for copiers.

Estimated savings: $642,700. Over the next six years: $3,856,200.

Action: Further reorganized administrative divisions.

Estimated savings: $2,104,850

Action: Decreased summer calendar by one day.

Estimated savings: $230,574

Action: Used district procurement card and electronic payments for purchasing.

Estimated savings: $1,024,120

Action: Redistributed textbooks instead of ordering new ones.

Estimated savings: $601,684

Action: Spent federal stimulus money on staff training.

Estimated savings: $6,615,050

TOTAL: $23,582,333

$124,591,471

Hillsborough schools cut costs: $125 million in four school years 07/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 30, 2010 11:01am]

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