Superintendent Rocky Hanna spoke during the April 13, 2021 Leon County School Board meeting about Pillar V of the Strategic Plan -the School Board’s fiscal stewardship and transparency initiative.
Leon County Schools employ 4,500 full time employees with a student body of over 30,000. The School Board’s annual budget is $500 million and its capital assets total between $900 million and $1 billion. Hanna remarked, “as an organization we are larger than the County government, if you remove the city utilities, and larger than the City. We fall only behind Florida State University and the State of Florida, as an organization.”
Over the last four years Hanna said that $5 million has been returned to schools and classrooms annually.
Hanna went on to explain an additional $1 million has been added to the schools flexible spending account, another $1 million annually to school furniture and equipment, and a further $1 million each year to foster arts and athletic programs. There was also a $2 million increase to the strengthen the School Boards emergency fund.
Recently, the Board raised the minimum wage from $9.30 an hour to $11.80 an hour. The pay for substitute teachers was increased by 40%, from $10 to $14 an hour. There was also an increase in the beginning teacher salary, from $26,000 in 2016 to $43,000 currently.
Hanna concluded his remarks by talking about LCS debt. He noted that in July 2016 the debt for Leon County Schools was $225 million and four years later, in June 2020, the debt was $154 million. Hanna stated, “we are on track to be debt free by 2028.”