TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough County School Board passed its fiscal budget for the coming year, but not without some concerns.
The issues concern lower student numbers, lower tax revenue for the district and a depleted reserve fund.
That’s on top of district teachers feeling taxed as they continue to work during the pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Hillsborough School Board approves $3.2 billion budget
- Concerns remain about future funding due to loss of students, tax revenue and Covid-19 impacts
- Hillsborough County School District
And that has left strains in the upcoming budget year.
According to school district officials, Hillsborough County has lost about 20,000 students in recent years to either private schools or Florida virtual classes.
Less students means less funding from the state.
The approved a $3.2 billion budget comes with concerns over future state funding, student enrollment and the unknowns of coronavirus.
The slowed tax revenue was on top of a loss of $7,400 dollars per student. That leaves the district short financially for other forms of education.
The state has promised funding based on pre-pandemic levels but some fear that could change by early next year.
Stuck in the middle are teachers, some of them worried about losing jobs and others stressed about doing their job.
“I feel like i shouldn’t even say my name anymore. I am unit 100827,” said Teacher Ryan Haczynski. “That’s how i feel right now. That’s how many teachers feel.”
Haczynski is an IB Teacher at Strawberry Crest High School. For the past week he has taken personal days in protest of the district denying his request to work from home.
During Tuesday’s board meeting, he told members he’s considering giving up.
“I mean I’m calling in sick and I’m spending 10 hours a day just trying to build canvas, be on zoom with my kids and do all these things on my own time,” he said. “If I take this leave, I’m going to seriously use the second half of it to consider whether I even want to be a teacher anymore.”
If there is any good news for teachers, Superintendent Addison Davis said if any shaving on spending needs to happen, it will come from the amount of money the district spends on consultants rather than teacher cutbacks.
But there are no promises for anyone if student enrollment continues to drop.