TAMPA, Fla. - Hillsborough County Public Schools is preparing to cut as many as 1,000 jobs. The final decisions about who gets cut have not yet to be made, but it's an issue that's been plaguing the district for months.
The school board and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association (HCTA) both say the looming cuts stem from a lack of funding from the state. It's an issue they've been evaluating for months.
"We've tried to make adjustments, but we keep battling the state funding and it's going to be continuous," Hillsborough County School Board vice-chair Dr. Stacy Hahn said.
Thursday, board members met for a workshop to discuss staffing plans for the new school year and the potential cuts. Initially, leaders discussed cutting as many as 2,000 jobs, but as of Thursday that number has now been reduced to just 1,000 jobs, which would include mostly teaching and paraprofessional positions.
"We're going to be able to save a lot of jobs through attrition. Every year, in Hillsborough County we hire on average a thousand employees every summer. I already have the district's word that no employee will be hired outside the district will be hired until every one of our employees has a job for next year," Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association president Rob Kriete said.
Kriete says he's determined to find solutions so no positions have to be cut at all.
"A lot of classes in the high school level where they only had maybe small enrollment, some of these classes will be combined and we are going to see higher class rosters next year. That is without a doubt," Kriete said.
As Kriete explains, the changes come at a difficult time when morale is low from the pandemic and the challenge of meeting students' needs virtually is more difficult than ever.
"I just want all employees out there in our school system to know we are fighting for them every single day and that we believe every single one of them that has a job now should have a job next August and I'm not going to rest until that happens," Kriete said.
A district spokesperson tells FOX 13 the final decision on potential cuts will be made within the next two weeks.