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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

After cuts, Pinellas teachers get "up to one hour" to accept new positions



There's no way good way around it: Pinellas will be losing teaching positions next year.

How many and in which schools isn't quite set yet, as budget numbers continue to shake out. The Times reported last month that high schools alone stood to lose 139 positions, per preliminary plans.

After principals pled their cases to the district, "approximately 40 units have been restored based on individual needs at schools," spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra says in an email. "There continues to be discussions with principals regarding their master schedules, and enrollment projections continue to be monitored."

Parra said that more "unit adjustments" - as Pinellas refers to position cuts - will occur throughout the spring and summer, with final staffing changes several months away.

However, documents were sent out to school principals and HQ administrators last week outlining the process for involuntary transfers. These happen when a teacher's position is eliminated and he or she did not put in a request to go to a different school.

Two things to glean from the first document, called "Identifying Involuntary Transfers - 2014": It's true that a "last-in, first-out" policy is in effect when cutting comparable positions. And special-needs educators will feel the hit.

Parra said the number of ESE teacher positions will stay the same or increase slightly, but "the total number of ESE associates will be going down." Parra could not provide a a count or a reason last week and said that information may be available after spring break.

"Positions will be reduced through attrition or by eliminating open positions. The change in the number of positions is not final yet," she said.

Per the second document, dubbed "Displaced Employee Process - 2014," teachers whose positions are cut will be given a "reasonable/comparable offer." That means the same job title, or the same pay grade for a different job title that they're qualified for or can become certified in. The position will also be within 10 miles of their home.

Part-time employees can not be offered a full-time position, and full-time employees can't move into a higher-paying job.

Here's the kicker: When reached with a reasonable, comparable offer, the employee "may have up to one hour to make their decision so the team can move on to the next employee."

Heard about cuts coming to your school? Let us know.

[Last modified: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:59pm]


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