1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

How long should Pasco schools protect jobs of teachers who move to charters?

Holding a post open for two years is too long, some board members say.
Pasco County School Board member Colleen Beaudoin [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times] [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK | ]
Published Sep. 11

Every once in a while, a Pasco County teacher chooses to leave a district school to go work at a charter school.

It’s not a frequent occurrence. But School Board vice chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin has heard from principals that it’s a troublesome situation.

Why? Because state law allows the teachers to keep their district jobs even as they transfer to the publicly funded, privately operated alternative.

And that makes it difficult for schools to find replacements, knowing that the teacher on leave could come back and reclaim the position. Based on the law, the district’s employment contract renews the teacher’s leave annually, and holds the spot at a specific school for up to two years, assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley explained.

“I don’t think it’s fair for our students,” Beaudoin said. “It puts our leaders in a tough spot.”

She asked her colleagues on the board if they would be willing to recommend changes to either the state law or the district contract, in order to give the principals more flexibility.

If the guaranteed leave exists, Beaudoin suggested, perhaps the state or district might agree to maintain the teacher’s job at the district level, with no guarantees of a specific spot at a certain school if and when they return.

Board member Cynthia Armstrong, who represents the district on the state school boards association’s legislative committee, said she could bring the idea forward for the group’s 2020 platform. But she added that it might be more effective to work with the district’s lobbyist, Wayne Bertsch, to attach the idea to a charter school related bill.

Shibley put forth that the district administration might also place the idea on the table during contract negotiations, as a way toward a local solution that stays within the bounds of the existing statute.

Board members agreed that they did not want to take away the teachers’ job protections. At the same time, they did not want district classrooms to rely on substitutes and short-term hires while waiting to find out whether someone who left for a charter is coming back. (Most don’t, Shibley told the board.)

“We want them to come back,” said board member Megan Harding, who took advantage of the leave policy while teaching in the district.

But the charter leave should not mean indefinitely holding a job at a specific campus, she said.

The board asked the administration to continue looking into the issue.


  1. Goodwill's BookWorks preschool literacy program strives to instill a love of reading and helps provide children books.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace has 183 more students this school year than last. Middle schools grew in enrollment this year, while elementary schools lost more than 1,200 students.  [Times | 2013]
    The 20 day count shows ever more crowding in southeast Hillsborough.
  3. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    Gov. Ron DeSantis also had set a priority of getting more youngsters ready for kindergarten.
  4. Wendell Krinn Technical High School in Pasco County opened in August 2018. The district wants to open an east-side technical high school in 2022. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    The past department head was removed over several performance concerns.
  5. Pinellas Sheriff's trainers line the back of the room as more than 100 school security officers, or "guardians,"  began training.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Students and community activists marched in Tampa last year after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The attack killed 17 people and gave rise to Florida’s school guardian law, which this year was changed to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    "This is the dumb, backwards stuff that we do here,” one Florida lawmaker said.
  7. Pasco High School's state grade for 2019 remains an "incomplete," with state officials finding not enough students were tested.
    A fourth has its request rejected, leaving it with an “incomplete” mark.
  8. The USF St. Petersburg Campus, Thursday, June 19, 2014.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.
  10. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.