School district formalizes reduction in workforce

School Board

Army Reserves Major Buck Watford presented commemorative flags to Gulf County Principals Susan Gannon and Jeremy Knapp.

Wes Locher
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM.

Still faced with a shortfall of $868,249 for the 2013-14 school year, Gulf County School Board formally announced at its regular meeting that they would put into effect a reduction in workforce for the new year.

The School Board has discussed the move in a special meeting, but made the Reduction in Force official Tuesday during its regular monthly meeting.

In public comment, Associate Director of the Gulf County Educators’ Association, Sandra Butler said that the teacher’s union felt that the district was moving too fast and that letting teachers go should be “the last thing we consider.”

She warned the board that if it chooses not to follow teacher contracts then they potentially face unfair labor practice.

“Our hearts break,” responded Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton. “We’ve looked at every avenue and it’s not with a light heart that we move forward.”

For the 12-15 teaching positions anticipated to be eliminated, the Florida Department of Education dictates that the board cannot make their decisions based on seniority or certifications and they would have to utilize the latest teacher evaluations.

Teachers with the lowest scores would be released until the needed number was reached.

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