Panama City- Teacher layoffs, privatizing, and reorganizing were just some of the measures the Bay County School District took this year in an effort to stay out of the red. District officials said the decisions by no means were easy, but necessary.
"I'm still not confident Florida is out of this hole yet," said Bay School District Superintendent Bill Husfelt.
The results of those tough choices are reflected in the new millage rate and operating budget. The new millage rate is 6.858 mils. When you break that down, say you have a home valued at $150,000, you're saving around $39. The school board approved the district's overall operating budget at a little more than $196 million.
Teacher and administrator vacancies filled by newer, lower paid replacements is expected to save the school district more than $436,000 this year.
"We had a big savings this year in hiring. You bring in new and fresh teachers that aren't as high on the salary scale, you save money," said Husfelt.
The private company Chartwells Incorporated also took over the district's food service department this year.
"In a budget situation, every option's on the table, and then we always look at something to make sure it's something we can do as efficient as possible," said School Board Chairman Ryan Neves.
But despite the Bay County School District tackling privatization and a number of other hot topic issues this year, the list is seemingly endless. Expensive school buses and costly portables are just a few of the speedbumps that still lie ahead.