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Old 02-23-2011, 07:37 AM
 
388 posts, read 658,998 times
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I was wondering if anyone had any insight on what may happen next year with all this talk of budget cuts by Rick Scott. Should we be expecting layoffs again and a hiring freeze? Are there any teachers out there that have heard anything? From what I gather last year they passed a law capping how many students could be in a classroom, so I figured that would mean they couldn't cut teachers. What are your thoughts?
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Programs will have to be cut..So some teachers will have to go to other positions or elsewhere in the world.

AND in Seminole county, property taxes will have to go up, just to keep even.

(Since the voters in Seminole county graciously turned down the sales tax referendum, to not let sales tax DROP .005, but the full .01... Now those same voters will get to increase the property owners taxes. )
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Orlando Metro Area
3,453 posts, read 5,594,490 times
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My gf is a Seminole County teacher and the most she's heard is what the news is reporting. I've been looking at the Texas forums a lot lately because their state budget is in much worse shape than Florida. I read yesterday that the Dallas ISD is considering laying off 4,000 teachers, with many other districts to follow suit. The most I heard from Seminole County's worst case scenario would be 45 teaching positions county wide, that would be doable since her school alone has hundreds of teachers. Personally, I think it's a shame that Florida even has to consider such an action because our entire state budget deficit of $2.5 billion could easily be made up or covered by the rainy day fund. Gov. Scott could then exercise some caution in figuring out how to appropriately cut state spending instead of grabbing for the hatchet after only weeks on the job. I think if he gets a pass on not creating jobs yet because he is new, then he shouldn't be making such drastic cuts when our budget deficit isn't anywhere close to what a fiscally irresponsibly state like Texas' is.

Hang in there Florida, 4 years of an administration like this and extreme right wing ideologues' day will be done. It's the same reason I'm already willing to predict President Obama getting reelected in 2012. We (I included) vote (some) Republicans in because we can't stand the wild spending of the other guys, and then they get to places like Washington and Tally and start up this crazy stuff like dismantling public school, social services, and pushing that same "moral majority" values platform which I think contradicts the less government mantra we've been sold. Gotta love the old Bait n' Switch.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:37 PM
 
1,256 posts, read 2,281,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrlFlaUsa View Post
My gf is a Seminole County teacher and the most she's heard is what the news is reporting.
Ditto.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,162,421 times
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I would pretty much bet that most of the jobs saved by the stimulus money are going to be cut. Look for cuts to teacher aides, teachers, programs, etc. Then in addition to the loss of the stimulus money, Scott proposes to cut even more money in order to provide property tax cuts.

Anyone who is interested should watch the FL legislature carefully to see what they come up with when they meet starting in early March. They may reduce the drastic cuts. However, I sense a strong unwillingness to replace the stimulus funds that are ending this spring. That will make layoffs almost a sure thing, even if we don't get the other cuts that would have funded the property tax reduction.

For more good news, the GOP Congress wants to cut $5 billion from THIS budget year's education spending. (budget year ends in September). This includes reading programs and STEM funds. (science, technology, engineering, and math). Obama will veto this. There were also deep cuts proposed for special ed, but those were removed (for now). You can also be sure that these kind of keep cuts will come back for the next budget year.

Ok, so what does this mean for local "annual contract" teachers? Terror, that's what. Any teacher who only has between 1 and 3 years of experience in their district could be cut. The usual rule is "last hired, first fired". The board/ superintendent are tasked with choosing who will be cut out of the annual contract teachers. With all counties in FL in the same boat, it will be tough to impossible for these laid off teachers to find teaching jobs unless they try private, virtual, etc and of course, everyone has the same idea there, so those schools will be swamped with applicants.

Meanwhile, many local district unions and districts have already agreed to one-time bonus payments to teachers for next year (since salaries have been frozen for years). The districts want to pay the bonus vs. giving a raise because the bonuses are for this year only and the raises would lock in a higher salary for everyone for years to come. (we're talking $200 to maybe $500 for the bonuses if I recall)
The fact is we have NO idea what the final FL education budget will look like. How deep will the cuts be? How much money will districts have to work with? Why are districts agreeing to these bonuses (costing $1 to $2 million) when their budgets are in the hole? Why are districts willing to give bonuses to some while laying off hundreds/ thousands of others?

Not all districts are in as good of a situation as Seminole. Take Lake for example. The HR dept told me that the stimulus money is paying for 388 teachers right now. IMO, that money will be gone after this spring (and not replaced by the legislature). Then what??

The class size amendment caps the # of students per class (in core subjects). The FINE for each student above the cap is between $2,700 to $3,300 (higher for the lower grades), according to the info on the Seminole County Schools website. I would like to think that this would be a strong reason to try NOT to lay off teachers, but that would make too much sense. I fear that Lake will just panic and lay off all first year teachers, and "just pay the fines". We need real leadership from our school boards to explore all options. Our mission is to educate the students. Obviously, classroom teachers are the ones to carry out the mission, so IMO cutting teachers should be the last resort! I have heard statements from other districts about how "meeting the class size caps is a must" but nothing of this sort from Lake.

I know that Osceola County (or was it Polk?) has a hiring freeze right now.

I'm not sure if some of the staff who currently hold county office positions would be deployed to the classroom based on seniority, thereby bumping a current teacher who only has 1 year in.

Also, keep in mind that many of these "annual contract" teachers are not 21 year olds who are just starting out and living at home with their parents. Many of these at risk teachers have years of experience and either moved to their current district from out of state, or from another county, thereby starting over at level 1 in terms of seniority. (so they are at risk of layoff now)

I'm not at all confident that we will manage to avoid massive layoffs of teachers. (if for no other reason than some kind of seniority-base bumping whereby anyone with a teaching certificate is re-directed to the classroom and their "office" position is eliminated)

All annual contract teachers (years 1-3) will be given letters at the end of this year stating that they do not have a position for next year. Then as the budget is worked out, they will be hired on again. This will cause a LOT of scrambling this summer and a lot of uncertainty for teachers. Not many teachers can afford to sit around and pray that they get hired back on. Many will be forced to change careers or leave the state. (just not to Texas). I also feel that FL could see many laid off teachers from Texas (and maybe NY) coming here to look for jobs.

It makes me angry that we claim to value teachers and need "fresh blood" in the classrooms, but yet we simply get rid of the lowest teachers on the totem pole every time the budget comes up short. These teachers could have been the future of teaching in FL, but now we will have to scramble all over again to fill the jobs when the budget comes back (ok, IF the budget comes back one of these years). Each teacher who is laid off costs the district thousands of dollars in expenses (Recruiting, HR processing, Principal interviewing/coaching/ observation, district training, etc)

One final note is most of the teachers who stand to lose their jobs are NOT union members. Many of these teachers have the "new mindset" meaning that they embrace technology, and are prepared to be judged on their performance with test scores/ student learning gains. They are just praying to have a job for the next school year, not complaining about raises, pension, merit pay, etc.

By the way, please keep in mind that FL teacher pay is at the bottom of the list nationwide, AND our per-student spending is at the rock bottom as well (even before the proposed cut to below $6,000 which places us right "up" there with Mississippi). STILL, FL manages to score 5th best in the US according to the Quality Counts report by Education Week Magazine. (a national publication, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.) So Florida teachers are already doing MORE with LESS.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:36 AM
 
388 posts, read 658,998 times
Reputation: 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovedfromFL View Post
I would pretty much bet that most of the jobs saved by the stimulus money are going to be cut. Look for cuts to teacher aides, teachers, programs, etc. Then in addition to the loss of the stimulus money, Scott proposes to cut even more money in order to provide property tax cuts.

Anyone who is interested should watch the FL legislature carefully to see what they come up with when they meet starting in early March. They may reduce the drastic cuts. However, I sense a strong unwillingness to replace the stimulus funds that are ending this spring. That will make layoffs almost a sure thing, even if we don't get the other cuts that would have funded the property tax reduction.

For more good news, the GOP Congress wants to cut $5 billion from THIS budget year's education spending. (budget year ends in September). This includes reading programs and STEM funds. (science, technology, engineering, and math). Obama will veto this. There were also deep cuts proposed for special ed, but those were removed (for now). You can also be sure that these kind of keep cuts will come back for the next budget year.

Ok, so what does this mean for local "annual contract" teachers? Terror, that's what. Any teacher who only has between 1 and 3 years of experience in their district could be cut. The usual rule is "last hired, first fired". The board/ superintendent are tasked with choosing who will be cut out of the annual contract teachers. With all counties in FL in the same boat, it will be tough to impossible for these laid off teachers to find teaching jobs unless they try private, virtual, etc and of course, everyone has the same idea there, so those schools will be swamped with applicants.

Meanwhile, many local district unions and districts have already agreed to one-time bonus payments to teachers for next year (since salaries have been frozen for years). The districts want to pay the bonus vs. giving a raise because the bonuses are for this year only and the raises would lock in a higher salary for everyone for years to come. (we're talking $200 to maybe $500 for the bonuses if I recall)
The fact is we have NO idea what the final FL education budget will look like. How deep will the cuts be? How much money will districts have to work with? Why are districts agreeing to these bonuses (costing $1 to $2 million) when their budgets are in the hole? Why are districts willing to give bonuses to some while laying off hundreds/ thousands of others?

Not all districts are in as good of a situation as Seminole. Take Lake for example. The HR dept told me that the stimulus money is paying for 388 teachers right now. IMO, that money will be gone after this spring (and not replaced by the legislature). Then what??

The class size amendment caps the # of students per class (in core subjects). The FINE for each student above the cap is between $2,700 to $3,300 (higher for the lower grades), according to the info on the Seminole County Schools website. I would like to think that this would be a strong reason to try NOT to lay off teachers, but that would make too much sense. I fear that Lake will just panic and lay off all first year teachers, and "just pay the fines". We need real leadership from our school boards to explore all options. Our mission is to educate the students. Obviously, classroom teachers are the ones to carry out the mission, so IMO cutting teachers should be the last resort! I have heard statements from other districts about how "meeting the class size caps is a must" but nothing of this sort from Lake.

I know that Osceola County (or was it Polk?) has a hiring freeze right now.

I'm not sure if some of the staff who currently hold county office positions would be deployed to the classroom based on seniority, thereby bumping a current teacher who only has 1 year in.

Also, keep in mind that many of these "annual contract" teachers are not 21 year olds who are just starting out and living at home with their parents. Many of these at risk teachers have years of experience and either moved to their current district from out of state, or from another county, thereby starting over at level 1 in terms of seniority. (so they are at risk of layoff now)

I'm not at all confident that we will manage to avoid massive layoffs of teachers. (if for no other reason than some kind of seniority-base bumping whereby anyone with a teaching certificate is re-directed to the classroom and their "office" position is eliminated)

All annual contract teachers (years 1-3) will be given letters at the end of this year stating that they do not have a position for next year. Then as the budget is worked out, they will be hired on again. This will cause a LOT of scrambling this summer and a lot of uncertainty for teachers. Not many teachers can afford to sit around and pray that they get hired back on. Many will be forced to change careers or leave the state. (just not to Texas). I also feel that FL could see many laid off teachers from Texas (and maybe NY) coming here to look for jobs.

It makes me angry that we claim to value teachers and need "fresh blood" in the classrooms, but yet we simply get rid of the lowest teachers on the totem pole every time the budget comes up short. These teachers could have been the future of teaching in FL, but now we will have to scramble all over again to fill the jobs when the budget comes back (ok, IF the budget comes back one of these years). Each teacher who is laid off costs the district thousands of dollars in expenses (Recruiting, HR processing, Principal interviewing/coaching/ observation, district training, etc)

One final note is most of the teachers who stand to lose their jobs are NOT union members. Many of these teachers have the "new mindset" meaning that they embrace technology, and are prepared to be judged on their performance with test scores/ student learning gains. They are just praying to have a job for the next school year, not complaining about raises, pension, merit pay, etc.

By the way, please keep in mind that FL teacher pay is at the bottom of the list nationwide, AND our per-student spending is at the rock bottom as well (even before the proposed cut to below $6,000 which places us right "up" there with Mississippi). STILL, FL manages to score 5th best in the US according to the Quality Counts report by Education Week Magazine. (a national publication, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.) So Florida teachers are already doing MORE with LESS.

Is it really that grim of a reality? Does my spouse stand a chance obtaining a Language Arts job for next year? It was my understanding that the Governor didn't have the support to pass all these cuts.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,162,421 times
Reputation: 1180
Are you in FL now?

I know that Lake County is always looking for Lang Arts teachers (middle and high). Seems to be a very high turnover (plenty of vacancies in the middle of this school year even).

The negatives: Lake is the lowest in pay of all Central FL counties. Benefits are also poor and cost more than the other counties.

The pro: very new schools (modern buildings, at least in the south Lake area), diverse studen population, nice rolling hills, affordable homes (plenty of short-sales/foreclosures too)

As far as the budget cuts. it's all in the hands of lawmakers now. We'll see what they come up with. Keep in mind that they are steadfast in refusing to raise taxes, or close tax loopholes. So something has to be cut and pretty deep. We have a mess with Medicaid spending as well.

The school year doesn't end here until early June, and I imagine there will be a crazy scarmble over the summer to juggle staff and re-appoint some of the annual contract teachers. In recent years, Lake has waited until a few weeks before the start of the school year to do that, and many teachers already found other jobs because they couldn't sit around hoping.

Your spouse will have to be very flexible and probably wait until mid-summer for things to shake out. Keep in mind that there may be positions opening during the school year due to retirements and resignations. (not the best case to start teaching in the middle of the year, after the prior teacher quit, but better than nothing).

I don't mean to be a negative nellie on here, but so many teachers just have their heads in the sand right now about this. I'm following the situation daily on all kinds of websites. There is a lot of uncertainty about everything right now. Keep in mind we depend a LOT on tourism and I'm also worried about high gas prices this summer. We need people to come here and spend.

Last edited by MovedfromFL; 02-24-2011 at 12:54 PM..
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Old 02-24-2011, 02:05 PM
 
388 posts, read 658,998 times
Reputation: 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovedfromFL View Post
Are you in FL now?

I know that Lake County is always looking for Lang Arts teachers (middle and high). Seems to be a very high turnover (plenty of vacancies in the middle of this school year even).

The negatives: Lake is the lowest in pay of all Central FL counties. Benefits are also poor and cost more than the other counties.

The pro: very new schools (modern buildings, at least in the south Lake area), diverse studen population, nice rolling hills, affordable homes (plenty of short-sales/foreclosures too)

As far as the budget cuts. it's all in the hands of lawmakers now. We'll see what they come up with. Keep in mind that they are steadfast in refusing to raise taxes, or close tax loopholes. So something has to be cut and pretty deep. We have a mess with Medicaid spending as well.

The school year doesn't end here until early June, and I imagine there will be a crazy scarmble over the summer to juggle staff and re-appoint some of the annual contract teachers. In recent years, Lake has waited until a few weeks before the start of the school year to do that, and many teachers already found other jobs because they couldn't sit around hoping.

Your spouse will have to be very flexible and probably wait until mid-summer for things to shake out. Keep in mind that there may be positions opening during the school year due to retirements and resignations. (not the best case to start teaching in the middle of the year, after the prior teacher quit, but better than nothing).

I don't mean to be a negative nellie on here, but so many teachers just have their heads in the sand right now about this. I'm following the situation daily on all kinds of websites. There is a lot of uncertainty about everything right now. Keep in mind we depend a LOT on tourism and I'm also worried about high gas prices this summer. We need people to come here and spend.
We're in Northern VA but have a family house in Windermere. My wife had a job offer in Winter Park late last summer (too soon) and also had an interview a month or so ago for another great school in Orange County. I don't think she's in Lake County's system, but I'm not sure about the commute, nor would I want to live there in the future. We ran into this same issue when you had layoffs a couple years back, and I don't want to run into a brick wall again. Lets hope the measures don't pass.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Owasso, OK
1,224 posts, read 3,384,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Idealism View Post
I was wondering if anyone had any insight on what may happen next year with all this talk of budget cuts by Rick Scott. Should we be expecting layoffs again and a hiring freeze? Are there any teachers out there that have heard anything? From what I gather last year they passed a law capping how many students could be in a classroom, so I figured that would mean they couldn't cut teachers. What are your thoughts?
We have a law in Oklahoma that's supposed to cap class sizes, but they ignore it. A secondary teacher is only supposed to serve 140 students per day, but my friend has over 150. I have 143.

According to what I have observed over the last couple of years in Ok, you will see a decrease in field trips, bigger classes, growing supplies lists, increased behavior problems, and rationing of copy paper just to say the least.
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Central FL
1,382 posts, read 3,162,421 times
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I think most teachers are already buying their own copy paper (for the printer) and ink as well. (not cheap). Districts have a copy service for worksheets and there is strict limit. You can't make any copies at school anymore (and you send the worksheet masters via electronic file).

Field trips are usually funded with the money that students pay. If diesel keeps rising, field trips will go bye-bye. Diesel is also shaping up to be a giant drain on the budget as prices increase with the turmoil in the Middle East. If we see any action in Saudi Arabia, all bets are OFF.

I know Lake keeps the thermostat on 78 now during the A/C season to save $$$. The classrooms are very hot.

To the OP: I would definately stay with OCPS then. It's too far to drive to Lake.

The situation here is that we have Scott as Governor and the entire legislature is controlled by the Republicans (strangle hold like never before). So pretty much they have a blank pass to do whatever they want. There is no voice of moderation. The "merit pay" deal is a as good as done. All of my teacher friends tell me it will never pass. I say "wake up people!". Anyway, that only applies to teachers hired in July 2014 or later. There is talk of doing away with the pension for new teachers this year too.
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