Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Education

Pasco school district imposes temporary hiring freeze

LAND O'LAKES — Dolly Gauvey had hoped to find a new full-time fourth grade teacher to fill a vacant spot on her staff.

Now the Cypress Elementary School principal is just hoping that the certified substitute she has in the classroom doesn't find a permanent job elsewhere.

Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning imposed a district-wide hiring freeze on Monday, forcing Gauvey and all other officials with open jobs to cancel their ads Tuesday morning.

"It doesn't mean we're not hiring," Browning said Tuesday. "Now we're doing everything individually."

If leaders determine a position is critical to their daily operations, they can request permission from one of the district's two assistant superintendents to make a hire.

Driving the decision is the administration's effort to evaluate ways to deal with an expected $23 million budget shortfall in 2013-14.

"We just wanted a freeze on in case we have to cut any positions," assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said.

By keeping positions vacant, the district would more easily be able to find new jobs for anyone whose slot is eliminated.

"It just really is precautionary," Gadd said. "It really doesn't have anything to do with right now. It has to do with the future."

Browning, who recently unfroze and filled a handful of administration jobs, added that he did not want to hire into certain positions while departments remain under review for reorganization.

"There is no sense in bringing people on only to have to let them go," he said.

In the short term, Gauvey said she expected to be able to handle the freeze on her teaching vacancy. She remained hopeful that the situation won't last.

Professional development director Chris Christoff, who canceled an ad seeking two school psychologists, shared that muted optimism.

Christoff plans to use the two psychologists to work with schools on key education reforms. They were to lead efforts on multi-tiered responses to student needs, with a goal of eliminating dependence on special education.

"We currently have two (multi-tiered system of support) coaches," he said. "So we could deal with that for the next couple of months. Then we will have to reassess. Ultimately, I am hoping once we get a clearer picture of the budget, we can restore those positions."

For the time being, though, all jobs will remain frozen.

Gadd and assistant superintendent Amelia Larson have told all hiring administrators not to make job offers to anyone they have not already reached, and to consult with them on offers that have been made to confirm whether the hiring may continue.

The term of the hiring freeze is indefinite.

Earlier this year, the Polk School Board implemented a similar hiring freeze to cover the costs associated with a pay raise. Contract negotiations resume in Pasco this week.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected], (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek.

Comments
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough County’s public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I can’t blame them. They are paying for a problem they didn’t create. About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000...
Published: 12/07/17
In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

In Watershed Ambassadors Program, Pasco students learn about natural Florida

SPRING HILL — On a small wooden dock at the Cross Bar Ranch, Cynthia Brinker gingerly pokes through the trappings in her fishing net, plucking out a tiny creature to examine close up. "What the heck is this?" the Weightman Middle School studen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

Crognale named 2018 Hernando Principal of the Year

BROOKSVILLE — For just a year and a half, Steve Crognale has been the principal at the Endeavor and Discovery Academies. But now, he’s been named the Hernando School District Principal of the Year for 2018. Endeavor serves students, most of them hig...
Published: 12/06/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey is skilled at calming first-day-of-school jitters. But this school year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every weekday with a knot in her stomach.It’s been there ever since th...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the police come...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

Hillsborough teachers keep the heat on after $92 bonus offer

TAMPA — The second Hillsborough County School Board meeting in less than a month took place Tuesday against a backdrop of honking car horns, cheering teachers and audience members moving through the room in shifts.Dressed in blue union-issued T-shirt...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17