Suwannee Democrat

Branford News

August 13, 2008

37 teaching jobs open as school begins

Funding cuts mean vacant positions weren't filled

By Jeff Waters

Suwannee County Schools will be 37 teachers short when classes resume Monday. Bill Brothers, district director of personnel, said that 41 jobs will be left unfilled from the 2007-08 school year. Thirty-seven of those are teaching positions.

Brothers said the positions were left open by retirements, resignations, non-renewed contracts and discontinued grants. The much celebrated Culinary Arts program at the Suwannee-Hamilton Technical center was cut due to a discontinued grant recently.

Brothers said the savings to the district will be about $2.1 million - almost exactly the amount by which the district's budget was cut by the state this year. That means the district isn't looking at cutting any other positions.

"I am confident that our current teachers and staff are most capable of rising to the challenge and will continue to meet the needs of all children," Brothers said in an e-mail interview. "It is impossible to lose 40 or so positions and not feel a huge void at the classroom level. We lost a lot of experienced teachers last year."

Brothers noted that the vacancies were "not equitably distributed throughout school sites and within job classifications." That meant that a number of teachers had to be reassigned to meet the needs of each school. Brothers said that 13 teachers were affected. Four teachers made voluntary requests to be transferred to other schools; an Exceptional Student Education teacher was reassigned to Branford Elementary School from Branford High School; three teachers went to Suwannee Middle School from Suwannee High School; three teachers were transferred from Branford High School, one to SMS and two to SHS. Five teachers were transferred from SMS to various elementary schools around the county and one teacher was reassigned to Suwannee Primary School from Suwannee-Hamilton Technical Center. In addition, a district administrator was reassigned to Suwannee Intermediate School.

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