Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough schools plan to stem budget gap without layoffs

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school district officials see a potential $20-million shortfall in next year's $1.3-billion operating budget.

But unlike other districts, they say they're planning to close that gap without teacher layoffs, furloughs or deep program cuts.

"Our goal is to get rid of that $20 million," superintendent MaryEllen Elia told the School Board at a Monday workshop.

Over the last three years, the district has trimmed around $100 million to keep pace with declining enrollment and plunging revenues. But the budget hole persists, even after cutting back on cell phones, leasing photocopiers and changing the middle school schedule to save money and comply with the state class-size amendment next fall.

Enrollment next year is predicted to increase by 711 state-funded students, said finance director Gretchen Saunders.

But health care costs may rise by 20 percent beginning in January, potentially adding $12 million in costs. The district also expects higher bills for electricity, utilities and its contribution to the state retirement system, she said.

That's still easy to bear compared with Broward County, which has laid off 461 non-teaching staff and may issue pink slips to around 1,000 teachers. Officials in Pinellas and Pasco counties are talking about furloughs.

But Hillsborough board members said the health care increases are worrisome, since they are largely driven by an increase in employee claims.

"Can we get an overall summary of the types of claims we're seeing?" asked member April Griffin.

People tend to use their health insurance more in hard times, Elia said, and aren't always making the most economical choices.

"You can go for $60 to a walk-in clinic, or you can go for $400 to the emergency room," she added. "We have a lot of people going to the emergency room."

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

Hillsborough schools plan to stem budget gap without layoffs 05/17/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 17, 2010 11:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun


    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  4. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change


    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  5. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.