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104 educators told they may not return next year amid Hillsborough County School budget issues

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Posted at 8:57 PM, Apr 16, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — More than a hundred educators in the Hillsborough County School District received an email on Friday saying the district is unlikely to provide them with an instructional position for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

According to the email, this is due to unit reductions and the instructor's current status and pool category. The email was sent to some of the district's newest hires, employed by the district in 2019 or 2020.

The instructors who received email are employed at least until the end of the 2020-2021 school, according to the district.

However, the email goes on to say that administrators anticipate retirements and resignations over the next few months and they "remain committed to working with our employees during this challenging time."

However, the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association tells ABC Action News they are planning to fight these cuts.

"We believe this was mishandled in a number of ways and will be filing appropriate grievances," said Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director of HCTA.

This comes as some school board members like Jessica Vaughn, who represents District 3, are responding to the email and how the situation was handled.

In the meantime, teachers are posting about the email and their own futures with the district.

Following a similar round of cuts at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the district recently removed 926 positions, under staffing formulas that were already in place, but not being followed until now. The hope is to save close to $80M and ensure the district can make payroll this summer, avoiding a state takeover.

Those teachers will be given the opportunity starting on Monday, April 19 to apply for other open positions across the district in what is called the "transfer period."

For those instructors who are unable to find their own new position within the district through the transfer period, they will be placed into the hiring pool where they will be reassigned to another school. Sometimes, educators are asked to switch subjects or grade levels. Those final decisions regarding the pool will be complete by May 13-14.

After those decisions are made, that is when the district will be assessing retirements and resignations to pull from the group of 104 instructors for possible employment next school year.

The email went out to the 104 instructors on Friday, April 16 because that is when the district is contractually obligated to notify employees that they may not have a position next year, according to Tanya Arja, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools.