BAY COUNTY, Fla. — Bay District Schools Superintendent, Bill Husfelt, called a news conference to discuss the need for funding as 600 teacher jobs and more school closures are on the line.
He said the district lost nearly 13 percent of its students after Hurricane Michael.
“We had approximately 29,000 students before the storm, that number dropped about 4,000.”
Now, Husfelt said they could lose a chunk of funding.
“Our declining enrollment basically means next year we will be down up to $24 million.”
If this happens, Husfelt said the district will then be forced to either cut teacher positions or close more schools.
He’s hoping legislators will take action to prevent this from happening, and not fault the district for losing its students after the storm.
“There has got to be in a budget as big as the state of Florida, $25 million for next year, and $12 million for this year to help us get through one more year of the most horrific storm Bay County could ever experience,” he said.
Husfelt also pointed out the increase in state sales tax collections from Bay County since the storm.
He said more residents are making purchases, which has led to an economic boom for the state.
“The state has received $6 million for the last two months, reported above what they normally get.”
When comparing December 2017 to December 2018, sales tax collections from the county were up nearly 37 percent.
Now district leaders said they are hoping to get that back.
“They got extra dollars they didn’t think they were going to get, so that makes sense to share it back with the people who spent the money,” Bay District Schools Financial Services Manager, Jim Lloyd, said.
Legislators have until May 7 to draft and pass a relief package.