By Akilah Johnson, Sun Sentinel (MCT)
The Broward school district on Monday delivered pink slips to 1,305 teachers, secretaries and paraprofessionals as it struggles to close a $130 million budget shortfall.
The district is notifying 568 teachers and 737 noninstructional employees that they will not have jobs when school resumes next fall, Gracie Diaz, acting associate superintendent of human resources, said in an e-mail to School Board members.
“These numbers will change rapidly as we receive vacancies from unexpected resignations and retirements and for those teachers who do not meet their certification requirements by June 30,” Diaz said, referring to the possibility that many of these teachers could be rehired.
Last school year, the district laid off 394 teachers. All but about 20 were rehired.
All of this year’s layoffs will be effective July 1.
The district announced last week that 687 teachers were placed on the surplus list, a pool of educators whose jobs have been eliminated but who may be eligible for full-time positions elsewhere in the district, based on seniority and availability.
Only about 120 of those teachers still have jobs.
“Those who we could place were advised that they have a position for next year,” Diaz said in the e-mail.
As part of the district’s budget battle, administrative offices cut expenses by 16 percent, and individual schools by 6 percent.
When slicing programs at the school level, principals posted which subject areas would be cut, sending those teachers to the surplus list. The teachers then had to fill out a form listing 10 schools within the county to which they would prefer to be transferred.
To help ensure teachers are placed at one of their preferred schools, Diaz said the district is waiting until July 21 to tell teachers which schools they will work at next year. That’s because positions can become available as teachers fail to renew their certifications, don’t return from leaves or opt to relocate.
Jon Wilson, a veteran history teacher at Hollywood Hills High School, is on the surplus list. Wilson, 67, has 42 years experience but entered the state’s DROP program, meaning he retired from the district and was rehired. He lost his seniority when he was rehired in 2007, the district said.
A small group of protesters, made up mostly of former students, stood outside the school Monday morning to object his departure.
They held signs that read “Cuts will have consequences” and “Invest in my future.”
Broward County Public Schools is among the largest school districts in the nation. According to its website, it has 15,716 teachers and 37,482 full-time employees in all.