tampabay.com

School Board mulls cuts in busing, hiring

Budget talks are preliminary, members say.

By AMBER MOBLEY
Published April 27, 2007


TAMPA - Looking over a preliminary budget for the coming school year, Hillsborough School Board members brainstormed ways to revamp programs and cut district spending at a Thursday workshop.

The meeting is the board's second as it prepares to adopt a budget in early September.

Dropping employment extensions, cutting courtesy busing and reducing travel expenses and hiring at the administrative level are all options that could be money-savers, board members said.

It's about time "we ask more of our administration and not just our teachers," board member April Griffin said.

The board also discussed re-evaluating school security, asking whether the district can save money by opting for its own security force instead of personnel from the Sheriff's Office and the cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia cautioned board members that the district would have to offer more competitive salaries if they made the change.

But topics for discussion ranged across the board, from maintenance to health care provisions for students and staff.

Without knowing how much money the district will receive from the state, board members stressed that the discussion was extremely preliminary.

The only real outcome: There definitely will be more meetings, one as early as May 10.