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      Hancock Schools face deficit for the seventh year

      Hancock Public Schools is facing a deficit for the seventh year in a row.

      What started out at just over $300,000 in deficit after the 2006-2007 school year snowballed to $1.6 million by 2009.

      Superintendent Monica Healy said the severe debt could be attributed to a number of things including the new high school and a large number of employees at the top of the salary scale, creating the perfect storm.

      â??There's so many variables,â?? explained Healy. â??There's so many unknowns each year. We don't know what the enrollment is going to do, we don't know what the foundation allowance is going to do, we don't know what insurance costs are going to do. So, it's a guessing game, and we look at it several times throughout the year.â??

      The current deficit is at an estimated $690,000.

      A large number of retiring teachers, as well as gifts from their alumni foundation and reducing administrative staff, has helped over the years.

      â??We're trying real hard to keep these cost-saving measures away from directly affecting the kids,â?? she said.

      The deficit has consistently lessened since 2009.

      Healy said despite the looming financial stress, the expectation of quality education has remained the same.

      â??The kids do well,â?? Healy said. â??The teachers do a great job of teaching, even though we are in debt. Our test scores, you know, if you look at standardized test scores, those are all good. They're right up there on top of the state and comparable to all the schools in the area.â??

      Healy said the plan is to be out of debt in two years.

      â??What people don't realize is, yes, we're in debt, but we're working our way out,â?? Healy explained, â??and that's tough to do in these times.â??