Hillsborough County School District Looks To Cut $130 Million
On Tuesday, Oct. 11th the Hillsborough County School District froze teacher hiring and now some current Hillsborough teachers are fearing their jobs may be lost.
The district is attempting to save $130 million this year in its general fund, the largest component of its $2.8 billion budget.
Superintendent Jeff Eakins released a message on YouTube to reassure parents and teachers that education won’t be harmed by any potential cuts.
“We have to make sure that the very best teachers are in front of our students every single day, and then we have to take a look at all the other employees.”
“Parents, you trust us to educate your children,” Eakins said. “That is a decision that you do not take lightly, and it is something that is at the forefront of our minds each and every day.”
The school district hired Gibson Consulting Group to find ways to save money. While the consulting group praised Hillsborough on their efforts, they found far more Hillsborough can do to make better use of technology and protect buildings that are in serious disrepair.
Gibson outlined nearly $100 million in yearly savings from cuts in the clerical, transportation, custodial and teaching divisions., $10 million of which could be saved from the teacher hiring freeze.
The district has already cut many secretary jobs, which the consulting group hopes will save up to $6 million eventually.
The teaching force has about 140 teaching vacancies. Administrators report that some of those positions will be filled by those already employed by the district.
In addition to teacher cuts, custodial costs can save about $10 million by switching custodial workers from day shift to night shift, which is said to happen soon.
In transportation the district plans to cut back on busing students who live within two miles of their schools. These changes will be seen in middle and high schools when the 2017-18 school year begins and elementary students will lose their courtesy bus stops a year later. Depending on how many stops are kept, the cuts could save up to $5 million a year.