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Hillsborough won't renew contracts for 150 retired teachers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials began notifying a crop of veteran teachers Monday that their jobs are ending.

The instructors, all retirees who had returned to the classroom on an annual basis, will not see their contracts renewed for the next school year, officials said.

The move, which affects about 150 teachers, is expected to save the district about $3.5 million, officials said.

The cost-cutting measure is among a number of changes the district plans to make in order to shave $11.4 million off the school district budget.

"We don't like this idea at all," said schools spokesman Stephen Hegarty. "Those are some veteran teachers who have a lot of experience. They're great teachers, but we're being forced to do some things that we would rather not do."

Yvonne Lyons, executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, said the notifications are premature. During bargaining talks last week, the union asked district officials to hold off on the notification in case the Legislature found other ways to save money.

"This is a ridiculous waste of human resources," she said. "I don't know how this is going to play out."

Deputy superintendent Dan Valdez said the district must move quickly because of a "transition period" coming up in April. This period allows teachers to move to other positions, Valdez said, and the district needs to know which positions are available. "We always plan ahead," he said.

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or nguyen@sptimes.com.

Hillsborough won't renew contracts for 150 retired teachers 03/23/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 23, 2009 10:02pm]
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