District layoffs less than feared

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 01:12 PM.

While cutting people and jobs was painful, Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton said Tuesday, he was proud of where staff had ended with the recent Reduction in Force.

Norton said during Gulf County School Board’s regular monthly meeting that the total number of people laid off in the past few weeks was five, instead of the 12-15 initially predicted.

That number does not include the 11-12 person custodial staff which will have the opportunity to transition to a private contractor over the course of June.

“We have not taken lightly what we have done,” Norton said. “We have cut through the muscle and the bone. We are literally in the marrow.

“Tears have been shed, prayers have been shared, meetings have been had. At the end of the day we had to do what we had to do and that was a reduction in force.”

Sandra Butler, executive director of the union representing district teaching and non-instructional personnel, questioned whether the master contract with the district had been breached when the district did not vote on specific subject areas or evaluation rubrics in making the layoff decisions.

She also questioned why an employee with more than 30 years in the district was not able to “bump” another less-experienced employee, as also spelled out in the master contract.

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