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Hillsborough school leaders contemplate cutting up to 2,000 jobs district-wide for next school year

District says no cuts are final yet
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Posted at 5:02 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 07:50:29-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County School leaders are preparing to make tough decisions, which will likely include cuts to teaching positions at several schools. This all stems from a troubling financial situation, which the school board will be discussing at a board workshop on Thursday.

School leaders said if they don't do something now regarding the budget, the district may not be able to make payroll this summer.

Anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 positions, including both instructional and administrative jobs, could be eliminated district-wide for the next school year. Some of the positions would be eliminated through attrition, when people either retiree or leave the district. However, other jobs will likely be cut altogether.

Teachers and staff can expect to find out what positions will be gone next year at each school sometime in April, according to the district. However, as of yet, no teacher or administrative cuts are final yet. Principals are still working with district leaders to submit their plans on what jobs will be saved or eliminated at each school.

This comes as Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis is considering closing some under-enrolled schools and has proposed selling the district's main administration building, known as ROSSAC, in Downtown Tampa, which is worth more than $20M.

The Hillsborough County School District does have about $200M coming to the district from the second CARES Act. However, the State of Florida is still holding onto that money.

According to a letter from Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R)-Clearwater, districts should not be looking to use CARES Act money to fix budget woes.

In the letter, Sprowls said districts should look at the federal dollars as one-time payments and should not be using them for "recurring obligations." Instead, Sprowls said it should be used for unanticipated pandemic expenses.

Hillsborough County Schools does have money coming from the third CARES Act, which has a mandate from the federal government attached to it that states must distribute it to school districts within 60 days.

This comes as Davis said kids are still struggling with how much learning was lost at the end of the last school year due to the pandemic.

According to the Florida Department of Education, we can expect to see a lot more D and F-rated schools in the coming months statewide.