Teachers don’t make the cut

Hillsborough County is facing a 72-million-dollar deficit due to lowered enrollment numbers in schools than they anticipated. Because the district gets funding from the state based on enrollment numbers, if the district overestimates those numbers, they then have to pay some of the money back to the state.

As an attempt to recoup lost funds, the district has decided that staffing adjustments will need to be made, meaning that many teachers and staff members will lose their jobs. 

Superintendent Addison Davis announced a tentative agreement on Oct. 21 that raises teacher’s base pay from $40,000 to $46,000 following the announcement of positions cuts and teacher reassignments.

According to Principal Kelly King, the staff cuts were not a sudden decision. There were multiple meetings and class evaluations that led up to the cutting of staff. “Staff cuts will not have an immediate effect on the school as a whole or on class sizes,” King said. However, she said she believes that the cuts will have a more prominent effect come next year.

The district says of the 333 positions that are being cut, 124 are teachers who were hired after Aug. 14 on temporary contracts. The staff members who were hired before Aug. 14 will remain employed, but they could be moved or reassigned to open jobs at other schools, or they could get a different role at their current school depending on the school’s enrollment numbers. About 105 teachers who were hired knowing that their jobs could possibly be cut while on these temporary contracts are expected to find positions in a “hiring pool.”

Davis wrote in an email to employees reminding them that this is a routine part of every school year. “Please understand that staffing adjustments occur every year in districts across the state based on student enrollment.” he wrote.

Davis has made a public statement saying that he would not be cutting music, art, International Baccalaureate, or magnet programs. However, he warned that teachers in those programs may be reassigned based on student enrollment and that in some cases teachers may be providing instruction at two schools. This means that mainly core subjects such as math science and English will be cut which will lead to larger class sizes as students will have new schedules in order to cover the teacher that was cut.