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Education

Hillsborough School Deficit Could Trigger Further Layoffs, Furloughs

School budget cutback slide
Hillsborough School Board
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This slide from a school budget workshop shows some of the different steps that can be taken to reduce the budget deficit

A yawning budget deficit is forcing Hillsborough School officials to consider possible layoffs or rezoning and closing of some of its schools.

Hillsborough County's school board may need to take drastic action in the coming months to balance the district’s budget.

Superintendent Addison Davis is warning board members that could include everything from layoffs to unpaid days off for district staff.

Other possibilities mentioned at the budget workshop on Tuesday: closing or consolidating schools with few students, or changing attendance maps to fill those schools.

If nothing is done, Davis says they district may run out of operating money by this summer.

"Anyone that is not in front of kids will be reviewed for potential cuts," Davis told school board members. "Teachers will be the last potential conversations about how we impact particular cuts. But overall, we're going to have to make some tough decisions and we will be doing that over the next 30 to 60 days."

Graphic of school board revenues vs. expenditures
Hillsborough School Board
Graphic of school board revenues vs. expenditures

This year, the district has received $1.75 Billion in revenue, but has spent roughly $9 million more than that. The Board members will likely discuss cost cutting measures at their next budget workshop on January 26th.

They're making plans for a sequel to the CARES Act - the federal stimulus bill passed by Congress last year - just in case.

"We may have to ask every employee in this district to furlough for three days," Davis said. "And I know that impacts everyone in this organization. That's $20 million. If we get CARES Act II money, I will substitute that out, and that will not be a strategy."

Davis said he could save $148 million by reducing about 2,000 jobs, with some through retirement or attrition.

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