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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school district officials seek to clarify position on job cuts



News that Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning planned to eliminate all school media specialist and literacy coach positions hit the district hard.

In addition to criticism of the idea, questions also came pouring in. One of the most often asked ones focused on how schools will survive without media specialists at a time that media and technology are playing an increasingly key role in education.

Hoping to address the mounting concerns, assistant superintendent Amelia Larson took to YouTube on Friday in an attempt to clarify Browning's proposal, which he revealed on YouTube a week earlier.

She said, in part:

"All support positions were looked at for cuts this year, and media specialists, literacy coaches, and some compliance positions were identified for reduction. In light of the new computer-based assessments, as well as expectations for digital teaching and learning, we know schools cannot function without technology and literacy support.

"There definitely is a need to evaluate current roles and responsibilities, so that teachers and students continue to have the supports they need. Technology, literacy, and communication functions will be critical in providing supports within all of our regions, feeder patterns, and schools.

"We will continue to discuss the new regional structures so that everyone understands that they are designed to provide more strategic supports.

"New positions are being created to combine the functions of literacy, media and technology. We will have approximately 30 new allocations targeted to fulfill the needs of our 21st century learners.  More information about these new positions will be forthcoming. This decision will not impact the number of Instructional Technology Specialist allocations for the 2013/14 school year."

It's the part about forthcoming information that has many people on edge, though. United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb said it's "almost impossible" to support the cuts not knowing what will take their place. "We've not had the opportunity to be told what it is they're envisioning," Webb said.

A turnout is expected at the School Board's meeting Tuesday evening, at which time more details might emerge. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 1:26pm]


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