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Broward Teacher Honored Amid Budget Fueled Layoffs

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Alvin Davis
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MIRAMAR (CBS4) – He thought he was going to a school pep rally, but Friday afternoon Miramar High School band director Alvin Davis received a stunning surprise; Davis was named one of five finalists in the 2012 Macy’s/Florida Department of Education Teacher of the Year award.

Davis is known for inspiring his students to aim for the top.

“I’m not often speechless but it made me speechless,” commented Davis after being given the honor. “The teachers are the only ones with their hands in the clay everyday.”

Davis received a $5,000 check made possible by the Macy’s foundation and a $500 Macy’s gift card.  A $1000 check was also presented to Miramar High School.

This year’s five finalists were chosen from more than 180,000 public school teachers statewide.

It comes at a turbulent time for teachers especially in Broward County.

Earlier this week the district gave pink slips to 1,400 teachers to shore up a $140 million dollar budget shortfall.

CBS4’s Joan Murray asked outgoing state education commissioner Eric Smith if he thought Broward has done a good enough job with their budget.

“It’s like any household.  It’s prudent budgeting from year to year. You can always make ends meet, put food on the table, otherwise it’s a crisis,” said Smith.

State lawmakers cut the education budget by 8 percent.

Broward County has no more federal stimulus money. All of it was used to hire teachers this year.

But surrounding districts are managing to hold their classrooms harmless.

In Miami-Dade County, no teachers are being cut.  The district says they’ve been able to do it by saving some of last year’s federal stimulus money, cutting administration costs over three years and by sending administrators back to the classroom.

Palm Beach County is also not laying off teachers.

They also saved federal stimulus money and have cut their administration by 25 percent over two years.

The Broward School Board is still having budget meetings and school board members are looking at transportation and administrative costs.

Earlier this week, Superintendent Jim Notter told district administrators they will have to take as many as 15 furlough days next year.

The move will save the district more than $4.5 million dollars.

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