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Schools to consider minority hiring

Efforts to employ more minority teachers and administrators in Hillsborough County schools might get a boost tonight. The school system's task force on minority recruitment, formed in June, will present the school board with a 16-page report on strategies and goals for increasing the number of blacks in the school system's instructional and administrative work force.

More than $80,000 should be spent annually to meet the goals of the district's 1971 court-ordered desegregation plan, which calls for blacks to make up 21 percent of the faculty, the report said. That would equal the percentage of black students in the district.

At the close of the 1988-89 school year, about 14.7 percent of Hillsborough's teachers were black, according to the report.

One of the report's strongest recommendations is for spending $27,000 to hire a full-time minority recruiter for the district.

"It is the unanimous opinion of the members of the Task Force that this district will not ever be able to keep pace with its minority recruiting needs unless someone devotes all of his/her time to minority recruitment," the report said.

Walter McCoy, who heads the state department of education's minority recruitment program, called the recommended $80,000 expenditure "a good start."

He also said that hiring a full-time recruiter would represent "a firm commitment that (the school system) wants to make changes."

"When (a minority applicant) calls in and you tell them you've got somebody who specifically handles those duties, they feel safer."

The report also emphasizes programs to encourage black students to pursue careers in education.

Currently, blacks make up about 7.5 percent of the graduates from state education colleges, McCoy said.

At the University of South Florida's College of Education, blacks make up 4 percent of total enrollment, according to Bill Katzenmeyer, dean of the College of Education.

The problem in Hillsborough County, in Florida and throughout the nation, is competition from other industries, Katzenmeyer and McCoy said.

"The workplace is not only open to minority students, but because of various laws and rules concerning equal opportunity .


. the industry is actively recruiting minorities into the other professions," Katzenmeyer said.

"Teaching, which used to be one of the few alternatives for college-educated minorities, is now unable to compete from a salary point," he said.

To make Hillsborough more competitive, the task force recommends developing partnerships with businesses in the community that could offer financial perks, such as paid moving expenses, guaranteed summer employment and free passes to local tourist attractions, to new minority teachers.

The school board will be asked tonight to approve the report in concept. Specific budget items then would be considered with other priorities, as next year's budget is developed.