FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Faced with a gap of more than $170 million, Broward’s School Board will take up a $2.9 billion budget during a meeting on Tuesday night which slashes hundreds of teacher’s jobs.
The budget, which was proposed before Superintendent Jim Notter left in the end of June, also calls for furloughs for all employees in the coming year, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
At the end of the last school year, nearly 1,800 teachers and 594 non-instructional employees were devastated to find that they had lost their jobs, according to the paper.
Along with them, another 757 teachers were informed that they were being ‘surplused’ which meant that they were able to keep their jobs but could face relocation to a school with vacancies; they may even have to teach a different subject.
The Broward Teacher’s Union says about 270 of the 1800 laid off teachers have been hired back.
The teachers hired back have more than 3 years of classroom experience.
700 first-year teachers were laid off. These teachers were hired on one-year contracts with federal stimulus dollars. Another 700 first- and second-year teachers were also laid off. The Union says some of these teachers have been hired back.
According to the Union, parents with students in Broward County schools will see fewer teachers, fewer electives and more students in each classroom.
“The BTU believes the School Board members need to make student instruction their top budget priority and sadly they are not doing so,” said BTU president Pat Santeramo. “They would do well to look to Miami-Dade and Palm Beach schools for guidance where student learning is being held mostly harmless in the budget process.”
Interim Schools Superintendent Donnie Carter wrote in a letter to board members that the district plans to make up the $141 million budget shortfall through layoffs, furloughs of administrators, hiring and purchasing freezes and a relaxation of the state’s Class Size Reduction standards.
Carter said that under the proposed budget the shortfall will be partially offset because employees are now paying 3% of their salary into the Florida Retirement System.
However, Carter promised to continue the district’s record of success.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on improving student achievement through creativity and efficiency in the use of district resources,” Carter wrote.
The property tax rate is expected to decline slightly under the proposed budget.
The rate from the previous school year was 7.63 per $1,000 of taxable property value. The new proposed rate is 7.42.
“Parents and community members should be very concerned when virtually no teachers are losing their jobs in Miami and Palm Beach and Broward is making such draconian cuts,” said Santeramo