No Makeup for Recent Storm Days

No Makeup for Recent Storm Days

37D23BA800000578-3770296-Hurricane_Hermine_Florida_s_first_for_11_years_made_landfall_sho-a-37_1472831446989On Thursday, September 8th, 2016, Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel announced that the Citrus County School District has verified with Florida Department of Education officials that Citrus County Schools will still meet the annual requirement of 900 hours of instruction, without having to make up the two days of school missed as a result of Hurricane Hermine. The school Principals have been consulted and believe the loss of two days at this point in the year will not have a tremendous negative impact on our students’ learning.

Therefore, the Superintendent under her authority granted by State Law has made the decision to waive these two days. This will not adversely impact any employees pay. Superintendent Himmel shared if staff has any questions to please speak with their immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Department at 352-726-1931 ext. 2295.

 

Post-Election

disappointedPost-Election

The ½ Penny for Schools Sales Tax did not pass with 45.24% voting “For” and 54.76% voting “Against”.  I want to thank the many, many people who worked so hard to share about the real need for this funding to replace the great reduction in capital educational funding.  Just today The Tampa Bay Times shared an article on how Citrus County Schools is not alone in the challenges for funding educational capital needs. (see story: https://t.co/xeIy2fKI6C)

Why this school referendum didn’t pass can be attributed to several things, but doesn’t change the fact that in the end not enough voters supported replacing the funding. I am frustrated by those that shared misinformation or perpetuated misinformation about the referendum and the great funding needs we have, along with the enormous reduction in educational funding. Their actions will result in a negative impact on our students and schools.

I cannot put this gently—this is going to be a difficult road ahead. We will find a way through this, but not without having to make even further reductions.  Over the coming weeks and months, the superintendent and the school board will continue refining our 1-3-5-10 year capital improvement plans.  Even after refining our capital needs and funding we will have to now turn to our general fund to meet our capital funding needs.

I must be frank that we will be having to make some very tough decisions. The challenge lies in how we balance meeting educational requirements, new and future state mandates, provide raises for employees, address growing maintenance/construction needs, while all the while trying to lessen the impact felt in the classroom and on our students.  In the past the superintendent and school board have been able to minimize the effects in the classroom and have tried to not reduce services.  I am not sure that will be possible unless something drastically changes. We have far too many needs and mandated requirements compared with the funding we receive.

We will continue to advocate for the needs of our students and classrooms. We will always be putting students first in the decisions we make.  They are the sole reason our schools exist.  We have a responsibility to not fail them.  I have much confidence in our superintendent and school board and our local educational leaders making the best decisions for our students’ and schools’ future.

Please continue to share with those that will listen the true challenges associated with the loss of educational funding. Support those who are in office who support our students and schools.  Use your power as voters to elect those that support our students and schools.  Lastly we must continue to speak out and communicate to our elected state leaders that their educational reform movement of mandated over-testing and underfunding to our students and schools must stop!

“TWO GOOD SOLES” Shoes and Socks Drive

“TWO GOOD SOLES”

Shoes and Socks Drive
Remembering & Responding to 9/11
Benefiting Citrus County Youth

TGS-1The Nature Coast Volunteer Center will be collecting NEW Shoes and Socks until September 9, 2016 Collected items will benefit the following agencies:
Citrus County District Student Services
CASA – Citrus Abuse Shelter Association
Citrus County Family Resource Center
Citrus United Basket
Daystar Life Center
Pregnancy & Family Life Center

Your donations will stay right here in Citrus County to benefit local children in need.

This day of service is sponsored by RSVP of Citrus County, a program of the Nature Coast Volunteer Center.
For more information please call 352-249-1275.

Drop off locations:

  • Central Citrus Community Center, 2804 W. Marc Knighton Ct. Lecanto
  • Central Ridge Community Center, 77 Civic Circle, Beverly Hills
  • Citrus County District Students Services, Lecanto & Inverness l
  • Citrus County Extension Services, 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Lecanto
  • Citrus County Libraries—all locations
  • Citrus County Resource Center, 2804 W. Marc Knighton Ct., Lecanto
  • Citrus County Tax Collectors Office, Crystal River and Inverness
  • Citrus Springs Community Center, 1570 W. Citrus Springs Blvd.
  • East Citrus Community Center, 9907 E. Gulf to Lake Hwy., Inverness
  • Inverness Community Center, 1082 N. Paul Dr., Inverness
  • Nature Coast Bank, 2453 N Citrus Hills Blvd, Hernando
  • Nature Coast Bank, 1160 N Suncoast Blvd, Crystal River
  • West Citrus Community Center, 8940 W. Veterans Dr., Homosassa
  • YMCA, 4127 W. Norvell Bryant Highway, Lecanto

TwoGoodSoles_sponsors

School budgeting cannot be done based on ‘what ifs’

The following was published in the Citrus Chronicle on August 13th, 2016

School budgeting cannot be done based on ‘what ifs’

36119-8Tammy Wilson
Special to the Citrus County Chronicle

On Aug. 30, 2016, Citrus County voters will be asked to approve or deny the Citrus County School Board’s resolution to levy a ½-cent sales surtax for Capital Outlay.

Many voters question the need for the levy, and there have been many comments made such as:

  • What if the County Commissioners reinstate impact fees?
  • What about Duke Energy’s gas plants coming online?
  • What if property values rise?
  • What if the state increases the millage rate for Capital Outlay?

These questions are all valid questions and points, but all are based on speculation and “what ifs.” The school district cannot base the Capital Budget on “what ifs” and speculation, it needs a reliable consistent source of funding.

At the close of the fiscal year on June 30, the CCSB has approximately $22.5 million in its Capital Fund. The CCSB has an average of $20 million in capital costs a year, this does not take into consideration any major remodeling or construction projects, it only includes what is needed to keep our schools safe for our students and faculty.

Therefore, most of the money in the Capital Fund will be spent during the 2016-17 fiscal year.

During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, tax revenue will generate approximately $13 million, PECO maintenance and other sources will generate under $1 million; this is still a $6 million deficit of funds for 2017-18 capital projects. Even though property values are on the rise, they would have to increase to $13.5 billion from the current $9 billion, to generate enough property tax along with other funding revenue to cover the $20 million in expenses next year.

The time to act is now, Citrus County School Board members have made the choice to ask the voters to allow them to levy a 1/2-cent sales surtax for Capital Outlay. It takes an average of two and a half years to plan, fund and build a new school; they have to start preparing now. Even though the CCSB has used the numbers from 2007- 2008 to illustrate how much funding they have lost, the fact that the cost of labor and commodities has risen since 2007- 2008 seems to be missing from many conversations. The CCSB has been prudent in its spending and cut costs where applicable to get the minimal spending down to $20 million a year.

Highly rated school systems are a draw for young parents building a future and planning a move. “How are the schools?” is the first question many home buyers looking to relocate ask.

One of the big draws to Citrus County for my parents 27 years ago, when my sisters were still in school, was the quality of the public schools. As a parent, I decided to stay in Citrus County mainly because of the quality of education my two daughters received and that my son and two granddaughters are currently receiving.

As a community we have to act if we want to continue to draw people to our county to boost our economy, we need to give our students, teachers and the entire school system the support they deserve. This is the absolute best message Citrus County could send to any business or family considering moving to Citrus County. When voting, consider this: When you shop or eat at the big chain stores in surrounding counties, you are contributing and supporting their schools, paying an extra 1/2-cent sales tax. Why would you not want to support your own schools, faculty and students the same way?

Every student deserves the best learning environment possible, we owe it to them to have the best facilities possible.

Hopefully, on Aug. 30, the voters will agree.

Tammy Wilson is director of finance for the Citrus County School District

Purple Heart Anniversary

Purple Heart Anniversary

Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776, Military Order of the Purple Heart

IMG_0208Today at our August 2016 Regular School Board Member in honor of August 7th Purple Heart Anniversary, Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776, Military Order of the Purple Heart Commander “Bud” Allen and Chapter Adjutant and Historian Curt Ebitz helped with the opening exercises.

The Citrus County School District was again recognized for being the First Purple Heart School District and for the Veteran’s in the classroom program.  During the meeting a new plaque honoring Citrus County School District as being the First Purple Heart School District was unveiled.

During the opening Curt Ebitz read the ‘The History of the Purple Heart’  and shared that approximately 130 Purple Heart recipients currently live in Citrus County.

The History of the Purple Heart, first known as “Badge of Military Merit”

At his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, on August 7, 1782, General George Washington devised two new badges of distinction for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers. To signify loyal military service, he ordered a chevron to be worn on the left sleeve of the uniform coat for the rank and file who had completed three years of duty “with bravery, fidelity, and good conduct”; two chevrons signified six years of service. The second badge, for “any singularly meritorious Action,” was the “Figure of a Heart in Purple Cloth or Silk edged with narrow Lace or Binding.” This device, the Badge of Military Merit, was affixed to the uniform coat above the left breast and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge and to have his name and regiment inscribed in a Book of Merit. The Badge specifically honored the lower ranks, where decorations were unknown in contemporary European Armies. As Washington intended, the road to glory in a patriot army is thus open to all.”

Pre-WW2 Awards: The Purple Heart as we know it today was reestablished in 1932 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The original criteria for award of the Purple Heart as published in the War Department Circular No. 6 of February 22, 1932 states that the medal be awarded to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries or had received the AEF’s Meritorious Service Citation Certificate during WWI, the latter criteria harkening back to the intent of George Washington’s “Badge of Military Merit”.

WWII Awards: In April 1942 the War Department amended its policy regarding the issuance of the Purple Heart. The new regulations authorized the posthumous award of the Purple Heart retroactive to December 7, 1941, and eliminated the use of the medal as a merit award.

(source: http://www.citruspurpleheart.org/page3.html)

Welcome To Your Child’s iPad Help Info

file-page1Welcome To Your Child’s iPad Help Info

The District’s new Title 1 Technology Specialist Dan Koch developed this excellent resource, ‘Welcome To Your Child’s iPad’ that I wanted to share.

Follow this link to download: http://thomastalks.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Welcome-To-Your-Childs-iPad.pdf