By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 25, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)-- The Leon County School Board is holding the first of two public hearings for its tentative 2017-2018 budget Tuesday night.
The new budget is more than $305 million dollars, and puts money back into the classrooms, as well as into the pockets of some employees.
Highlights include a 12.5 percent raise for bus drivers and food service workers, a 20 percent raise for substitute teachers- who have not seen a raise in more than a decade- and a 15 percent raise for school bookkeepers. Para-professionals will also receive about a three percent raise.
"I looked at some of the salaries for our bus drives and food workers and it'll break your heart," said Superintendent Rocky Hanna. And those bus drivers are up early in the morning. They're the first ones to take care of our student, get them to school and get them home. Yet we can't keep up with the salaries and wages offered by StarMetro."
Hanna also wants to see money return back to the classroom.
$250,000 will go towards classroom supplies and each teacher will be given a $245 stipend.
"That (supply) list had been forever growing. I want to see it shrinking. The burden we are putting on families is unacceptable. A lot of those things, the copy paper the dry erase markers, that should be part of a free and public education," said Hanna.
Other highlights include $1 million added to the district's emergency fund, $2.7 million to the unrestricted fund balance and $350,000 for high schools to use to reduce the cost of athletics and extra-curricular activities.
In order to push funds in these areas, cuts were made based on retirements and consolidating over-staffing.
Following Tuesday's public hearing, a second public hearing will be held September 5th.
Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 21, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Leon County Schools is putting more money into the classrooms. The district released its over $305 million spending plan for the upcoming school year Thursday.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna said in a statement that he is proud of the plan, and that it reflects his main priorities going into the new year.
Hanna’s three goals going into the new school year include bringing resources into the classroom, giving more money to school employees, and ensuring financial security for the future.
The budget proposal includes a more than 12 percent pay raise for bus drivers and food service workers, a 20 percent raise for substitute teachers - who haven’t had a raise in over a decade, and a 15 percent raise for bookkeepers.
The Leon County school board said these additions are long overdue.
"Most people in education do not do it for the money, they do it for the love of children, for the love of learning, and they see the importance in guiding those children through the future," said Alva Striplin of the Leon County School Board. "So this is a small way to say thank you to them and show that they're appreciated."
In addition to the raises, $250-thousand is going to help schools purchase new supplies, and an additional $350-thousand is going towards extra-curricular activities and athletics in high schools.
By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 21, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Leon County School Board received the proposed tentative budget for the 2017-2018 year on Thursday.
“This document reflects my three major priorities: returning resources to the classroom, increasing employee compensation, and ensuring financial security for the future," said Superintendent Rocky Hanna.
Some of the highlights of the proposed budget include a 12.5% raise for bus drivers and food service workers, and a 15% raise for school bookkeepers.
The proposal also includes a 20% raise for substitute teachers, who have not received a raise in over 10 years.
This year's budget adds $1 million to the emergency fund, $250,000 for schools to purchase classroom supplies, and $350,000 for high schools to use to reduce the cost of extra-curricular activities and athletics.
The school board will hold a public hearing on the tentative budget on Tuesday, July 25 at 6:00 p.m. The final public budget hearing will take place on September 5 at 6:00 p.m. The school board meets in the Aquilina Howell Building at 3955 W. Pensacola Street.
Attached is a PDF file containing the budget proposal in its entirety. The PDF can be found on this page as "2017-2018 Superintendent's Proposed Tentative Budget."