Advertisement
  1. Education

Hernando School Board approves budget with lower tax rates, no cuts to student services

Published Sep. 12, 2018

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board signed off Tuesday on a $291 million budget that boasts a decrease in tax rates and no cuts to student services while increasing spending only slightly from last year.

After what she called a period of slow growth, budget director Kendra Sittig said the pieces have come together for a solid 2018-2019 budget.

"We're underfunded in many ways," she said in an interview, "but the way we tightened our belt over the past few years … that helped us keep the fund balance up."

Sittig said the district was able to reduce its transfer from the capital fund into its general fund — which makes up most of the budget and includes salaries and benefits — by $2 million, which will address capital needs including school safety improvements.

She said the district's financial health also allowed it to pay for new school resource officers, an expense that wasn't fully covered by state funding. The district hired the officers in response to new state legislation after the February school shootings in Parkland.

Elsewhere, Sittig noted $590,000 in mental health allocations.

The School Board approved a reduction in the tax rate from 6.619 to 6.340.

One mill is equal to $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value, which means a resident with a $100,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption will pay nearly $21 less in 2019 than 2018.

Despite the millage reduction, overall property value increases in the county mean the district will collect a projected $1.2 million more than last year.

This year's budgeting for capital appropriations proposes $6.4 million more in spending than in 2017-18. That includes more than $500,000 on buses and other motor vehicles.

Food service appropriations in total decreased by about $500,000 from what the district spent in 2017-18, though spending on materials and supplies in that category will increase by nearly $1 million.

The overall proposed budget is about $750,000 higher than the district spent in 2017-18.

Board member Susan Duval said the budget was an improvement over the past several years and tied it to increased economic health across the county. The district still faces financial challenges — from filling vacant teaching positions to replacing outdated textbooks.

"Having a little bit of money is good, but our need is great," she said. "This is not going to solve all the problems that we're dealing with on a regular basis."

Contact Jack Evans at jevans@tampabay.com. Follow @JackHEvans.

RELATED:Lower tax rate, higher savings in proposed Hernando schools budget

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Bayonet Point Middle School teacher Cynthia Thompson wants to become Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of Cynthia Thompson
    Cynthia Thompson is a graduation enhancement instructor at Bayonet Point Middle School.
  2. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
    Steve Hegarty spent 10 years as Hillsborough schools public information officer before taking the police department post.
  3. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, left, looks on while school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa, Florida on Friday, October 18, 2019.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  4. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  5. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  7. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 63-year-old crossing guard was hospitalized, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a woman fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  9. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, right, and  school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa on Friday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Much is unclear at this point, say Hillsborough school officials, who promise to be open and transparent with the community,
  10. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement