FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It is a bad time to open the mailbox if you work for the Broward County School Board. Hundreds of teachers could open their mail to find termination notices tied to budget cuts, and hundreds more will get notices throughout the rest of the month. The Broward Teachers Union said Monday it has been told 1400 teachers will be terminated or laid off.
The layoffs affect first and second year teachers whose contracts were not renewed. For just about half of the teachers, the notice should have been no surprise. They were hired under a one year contract, paid for with federal funds, and had to sign an agreement that they knew their job would be ended after the school year.
Later this month, a second round of notices will be sent, telling teachers their contract will not be renewed. Everglades High School band director Marcos Rodriguez got word today.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me again for the third straight time, ” he told CBS4’s Joan Murray. ”
“I almost slammed my iPad to the ground. We were planning for next year, getting ready for summer camp and now we have to postpone everything until further notice to see what happens.”
The Broward school board faces a $144 million shortfall, and said it can’t afford to keep he teachers. The BTU said it could keep the teachers if it made $70 million in cuts the union suggested to other areas, including the school board bureaucracy.
“Until parents and taxpayers start to rise up and demand greater accountability of district officials as to how they spend our tax dollars, the terminations and layoffs that will occur later in the month will likely continue unabated,” Santeramo said.
End-of-year layoffs have become a regular occurrence among Broward teachers, but in past years the district ended hiring many of them back before the start of the new school year. School officials have warned that is unlikely this year, as board members have struggled to deal with revenue shortfalls caused by the bad local economy and the budget-cutting mission in the past legislative session.
Monday, the school board said the official final layoff total won’t be known for some time. “Actual teacher layoffs will not happen until the first or second week of June,” the board said in it’s statement. “We will only have layoffs if we do not have openings for teachers in specific areas.”
Broward teachers have been on this roller coaster before.
Last year the district laid off over 500 teachers and rehired many of them back with federal stimulus money. The stimulus money has dried up.
Rodriguez is hoping by some miracle he can keep his job at Everglades High School.
“It’s tough. I’m expecting my first child and I may not have any benefits because of this.”