15-July-2013 - (HCS) - At its July meeting, Hoover City Schools' Board of Education demonstrated its continued commitment to funding for instruction by deciding to discontinue transportation service for regular education students beginning in August of 2014. This decision was made as part of a plan to move more aggressively toward protecting a long term, sustainable, high level of quality educational services the citizens of Hoover expect for their children despite a climate of dwindling resources.
Board members anticipate that this change in transportation services will yield more than $2.5 million dollars per year that Hoover City Schools can redirect into classroom investment and/or deficit reduction. The system has designated the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year for the change in order to allow an extended time for adjustments to be made by parents whose children now ride buses to and from school, as well as provided adequate time for affected transportation employees to obtain employment in another system or explore other employment opportunities. The year also allows for systematic implementation planning by the district.
There are numerous reasons the Board has decided on this action. In recent years, there has been considerable negative pressure on many aspects of the school system’s current financial operating model. The continued overall inverse relationship between increasing student enrollment and sharply declining revenues has diluted the funding model and eroded the district’s investment capacity in core teaching and learning. Since 2008, system revenues on a per-student basis have decreased from $13,715 to $11,356 for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2012.
This decline represents a cumulative operating revenue loss for the same four-year period of $96.8 million dollars. Annual revenues for fiscal year 2012 alone were down $31.6 million compared to the fiscal year 2008 level. The Superintendent and School Board believe that these steady losses and the impact they have had and will continue to have on the school system cannot be understated and must be addressed with significant changes that will allow Hoover City Schools to commit more financial recourses to instruction.
Over the last four years, enrollment in Hoover City Schools has steadily increased, and the district has implemented substantial expenditure related measures to contend with the ever weakening operating environment. Despite increased enrollment, expenditures for instructional and instructional support services have been reduced 6% and 10% respectively the past four years, leaving Hoover City Schools employing 110 fewer teachers in 2013 than it did in 2008 on a per student basis.
Expenditures in other areas have been steadily reduced as well. Expenses for operations and maintenance, general administrative, and debt service have declined by 14%, 25%, and 47% respectively over the same four year period. Despite these significant cuts, Hoover City Schools is still currently operating in a deficit position which the Superintendent and Board believe is unmanageable and unsustainable if Hoover City Schools is committed to achieving the core teaching and learning goals that are the hallmark of our school district.
Beyond the change in transportation services, Hoover City Schools will continue to analyze and implement strategies designed to halt deteriorating financial operating trends, recoup lost capacity, and position the school system for sustainable success.