Following the Money: Workforce adjustments in Hillsborough are routine, district says
Hillsborough district spokeswoman Tanya Arja responded Wednesday to rumors about job cuts with this statement:
The ongoing adjustments are business as usual.
Chief of Staff Alberto Vazquez, in a meeting recently with the eight area superintendents, told them all to evaluate their schools and make sure that they were properly staffed. Or, as Arja put it, "ensure the units were properly allocated."
In other words, a school might have eight English teacher positions but only enough students to fill seven English classes. "Some of those units might be empty units," she said. Translation: The eighth English teacher might not have even been hired yet. At last count, the district had 180 teacher vacancies spread across roughly 250 schools.
The exercise Vazquez ordered up was completely routine, Arja said. "That's what we do every year. They were told to capture what their schools have and what their needs are."
The Gibson Consulting Group, hired last year to help the district save money, has identified 1,700 excess jobs that, if phased out, could save the district $404 million over five years. The district, so far, has been slow to say which of the report's recommendations it will follow, beyond reducing the number of secretaries at elementary schools and the downtown headquarters.
A second, Phase II report from Gibson is due any time, and the Tampa Bay Times has a public records request in to see it when it arrives.
An update on the district's enrollment numbers: On Day 5, there were 209,345 students. That's 1,909 more than the fifth day of 2015-16.