Thursday, February 22, 2018
Education

To deal with cut in funding, Hernando school district implements hiring freeze

BROOKSVILLE — For the second time this school year, the Hernando County School District has implemented a hiring freeze to address budget concerns that are largely tied to the district's declining enrollment.

In January, the school district saw a reduction in state funding of roughly $1.9 million that was the result of lower-than-forecast enrollment numbers, according to the district's chief financial officer, George Gall.

The district also has been hit with higher insurance costs for substitute teachers due to changes under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Citing the negative impact to the district's general fund balance, Gall sent out an email reinstituting the hiring freeze across the district. There was no indication of how long the freeze might last.

"Thank you for your continuing efforts to provide a quality education to our students as we work through these financial issues," Gall wrote in the email.

He said it appears the district needs to save between $2 million and $2.5 million, though he indicated that a lack of quality data makes it difficult to know exactly how much.

'"We need to tighten our belt to end the year good," Gall said.

He said the freeze is one of three cost-saving initiatives the district is undertaking.

The others involve a directive to wrap up certain purchase orders and asking staffers to re-examine their remaining budgets.

The district's previous hiring freeze began in August, lasting for a few weeks.

At the time, superintendent Lori Romano said the district needed to put the freeze into place while enrollment stabilized for the 2013-14 school year.

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

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