Pasco eSchool teachers seek relief

Published May 13, 2014

Since its 2010 debut, Pasco eSchool has quickly grown into one of Florida's largest providers of online course work.

Its teachers lately have been feeling the growing pains. The major concern appears to be too many students, and not enough staff. And they're letting the district brass know about it.

"Bricks and mortar teachers (for the most part) have student numbers ranging from 120-150. We have teachers that have carried over 500 students this year! Many teachers have carried over 300, and several over 200!" science teacher Stephanie Carter wrote to superintendent Kurt Browning.

And it's not like their job requirements differ greatly because they're operating online, they say. They spend just as much time grading and consulting with students, while making themselves available generally 12 hours a day for calls and other student contacts.

They'd like some help as the district plans for the coming year.

"Please reconsider the allocations for next year so that the burden that has been placed on our staff can be somewhat relieved," social studies teacher Carrie Page wrote to Browning.

Changes to graduation requirements could offer extra rationale for adding eSchool staff.

"With next year's senior class being the first to have an online class requirement for graduation, we can only expect our numbers to climb," economics teacher Jim DiMillo wrote to the superintendent. "We have been playing catch-up all year and are still trying to make ends meet. The stress of carrying the extra load and feeling insufficient has me questioning my future in this career I love."

Browning has taken note of the e-mails landing in his inbox, and promised to do what he can.

"Pasco eSchool has been the largest consumer of additional allocations this year with approximately 20 new teachers being added to Pasco eSchool," he noted in his response to DiMillo. "The thing that I am struggling with the most is how we go about fixing six years worth of damage to a system in the shortest amount of time. We cannot fix it in one budget cycle. I continue to meet with and consult with Joanne Glenn, principal of Pasco eSchool, on the best approach to take to meet the needs of our students."

Browning also has been talking with Glenn to set a time for him to meet with the faculty. Stay tuned.