It may be spring break for thousands of Bay County students but Superintendent Bill Husfelt has not stopped working. He went to Tallahassee Tuesday to speak before the Florida Board of Education about the district’s needs after hurricane Michael.
“Our challenge is our teachers and our students are overwhelmed,” said Husfelt.
In the 10 minutes allotted, Husfelt made the district’s needs heard before the board.
“We can’t start rebuilding until we have the money in the bank,” said Husfelt.
The district faced a major financial hardship with damages totaling $330 million and loss of funding due to a student population drop.
“When the February FTE count came that means a cut in funding obviously, and we don’t want to have to start laying off employees and add to the other chaos going on,” said Husfelt.
On Friday bay district announced they will rehire 80 percent of its educators next year. The other 20 percent will need to wait for funding from the state. Husfelt also stressed the importance of more mental health services after the district has seen an increase of Baker Acts since the storm.
“The mental hospital beds for students who need long term evaluation or assistance, we went from 96 beds down to 16 beds,” said Husfelt.
Commissioner Richard Corcoran said he’s supportive of Husfelt’s list of requests including academic relief waivers.
“You have our support whether it’s on your list the differentiated accountability, we will hold those schools harmless that are below a C and will continue to work with you on the other requirements,” said Husfelt.
The board praised Husfelt’s work to recover.
“Thanks for your passion, thanks for your leadership and we will continue to work with you,” said Corcoran.