1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Five takeaways from the Hernando County School District budget, passed Tuesday

The $310-million budget is projected to leave the School District with a $21-million reserve at year’s end.
Hernando County School District [Douglas R. Clifford | Times (2018)]
Published Sep. 11

BROOKSVILLE — After a final hearing Tuesday evening, the Hernando County School Board voted unanimously to pass a nearly $310-million budget for the 2019-2020 school year. It also set a lower millage rate for the coming year.

Here’s what you need to know about the budget and the millage rate.

  • The School Board approved a millage rate of 6.163 mills, the same rate it estimated at a tentative budget hearing in July. A mill is a unit of property tax measurement equal to $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. This year’s rate is down from last year’s rate of 6.34 mills, due to a declining state-required millage. Even though Hernando County’s estimated property tax roll has increased by more than $600 million — about a 6 percent increase — the lower millage means the district will receive about $2 million more in property taxes, a 3 percent increase over last year.
  • The numbers have shifted since the hearing earlier this summer, but the budget’s total funding slightly surpasses last year’s funding. At about $309,857,000, the total funding is nearly $8.6 million more than the district received last year. Most of that increase comes from an $8 million increase in the general fund, led by a $6.2 million increase in state funding. The Florida Education Finance Program, the state’s standardized funding for school districts based on student population and other factors, accounts for that difference.
  • Speaking of the general fund, the district’s latest accounting shows that it begins the year with a fund balance of just over $30 million. It expects to end the year with that balance having dropped to about $21.5 million.
  • Most of the general fund will go to employee salaries and benefits. At just under $150 million, that category makes up about four-fifths of general fund appropriations, a proportion unchanged from last year.
  • Though it doesn’t concern this year’s budget, the board’s impending push for higher impact fees got a mention earlier Tuesday. Those fees, which homebuilders pay to offset new residents’ costs to the county, have to be set by the County Commission. Board member Jimmy Lodato went to the commission’s Tuesday meeting to gauge its interest in approving an increase, and he came away confident of its chances, he told the School Board. Superintendent John Stratton said the board will vote later this month on a resolution to ask for the increase, and he’ll take it to the commission in early October.

Though it didn’t come up at the meeting, the School Board also is considering a 2020 ballot measure that would give voters a chance to raise the millage rate. The outcome could significantly affect future budgets.


  1. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  2. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  4. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  5. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  7. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  8. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  9. Damian J. Fernandez, center, is introduced Monday as the new president of Eckerd College. He will succeed longtime president Donald R. Eastman III on July 1. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Damian Fernandez, 62, will succeed president Donald R. Eastman III, who steps down June 30 after leading the school for 19 years.
  10. The Florida Department of Education has approved another alternate assessment for third graders to demonstrate they read at or above grade level.
    The state also reminds schools to let those who struggle that scholarships for help are available.