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Parents, teachers take aim at planned staff cuts at Hillsborough schools

Some of the positions slashed were already vacant
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Posted at 10:48 PM, Apr 13, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Parents and teachers made a last-ditch effort Tuesday to reverse course at Hillsborough County Public Schools as leaders prepare to cut about 1,000 positions within the district.

The district says many of those positions were already vacant.

Superintendent Addison Davis has reported that the district must fix a $140 million shortfall ahead of the next school year.

RELATED: Hillsborough County School board meets among looming job cuts

Some teachers, administrators and staff members were notified on Friday that their position was being cut.

Lomax Magnet Elementary art teacher Lashonda Wilburn said she got the news on Friday.

The single mother said she became a teacher with expectations that it was a stable career choice, but she fears that’s not the case now.

“As a mother, now I’m going to be looking at how am I going to provide for my family that I just purchased a home six months ago now how am I going to be able to pay my mortgage now without a stable income," Wilburn said.

Staff members notified their position was cut will now have to go into a job pool, meaning they have to leave their current school and reapply for another one or apply to teach a different subject.

The total impact on staffing will not be known until that process takes place in late May.

RELATED: Hillsborough County School District reaches deadline to notify teachers of position elimination

An HCPS spokesperson said they believe most staff members who were cut will be able to find a position through the district’s job pool.

“I will do my best once again to protect everyone in this organization as much and often as we can,” Superintendent Addison Davis said during Tuesday’s meeting.

A couple of dozen teachers and parents spoke out about the cuts in front of school board members.

“First of all, it’s very nerve-racking not knowing if you’re going to be one of the ones that are going to lose their position,” said Angel Loux, a teacher at Lomax Magnet Elementary School. “So that stays with you in the back of your mind.”

While the decision to cut staff is already moving forward, some called for a citizen advisory committee to help weigh in on budget issues, much like a similar committee in Miami-Dade County.

“Everyone that spoke tonight, everyone on this board, everyone here, everyone in this community, we all want the same thing. It’s to help children,” said Davis.