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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco County teachers, school district reach deal on midyear transfers

Fourth-grade teacher Alexandria Rackston was hired in 2013 after a teacher transfer within the district.

Times file photo

Fourth-grade teacher Alexandria Rackston was hired in 2013 after a teacher transfer within the district.



Pasco County teachers will not face a ban on midyear job transfers under an agreement reached between the school district, which had sought to limit the moves, and the teachers union.

"Teachers will be able to transfer between schools," said Jim Ciadella, operations manager for the United School Employees of Pasco. "If a person is offered a job, he or she will be transferred once a qualified replacement is found."

School principals will be expected to seek replacements in a timely fashion, although no set time frame was established.

Assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley said the deal, which officials had already been implementing unofficially, should resolve the administration's key concern.

"We were just trying to cut down on the number of classrooms that were being affected by having noncertified teachers in front of students," Shibley said. "Our most struggling schools were the ones that were being impacted the most by teachers leaving in the middle of the year."

Superintendent Kurt Browning announced in August that he would stop midyear transfers as a way to end the "domino effect" of shifting teachers and disrupted classrooms. USEP leaders argued that the superintendent, who had asked for such changes for three years, could not unilaterally change contractual rules for changing jobs.

After an October hearing, the sides saw their positions were not far apart. So the district held off issuance of a grievance ruling while representatives negotiated a settlement. They got hung up briefly over how job interviews would be conducted (in person, over the phone or via Internet), but eventually hashed out the details.

Now, USEP president Kenny Blankenship said, the transfer rules are "better defined" than ever.

"It gives us some room to stand on and stand up for teachers who are being offered positions and gives them a concrete process to follow," Blankenship said.

He and Shibley agreed that the issue requires no further discussion, and it should not become the subject of future contract talks.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 12:09pm]


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