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Pasco superintendent's plan cuts media specialists, literacy coaches

Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

The Pasco County school district announced Thursday it will eliminate about 100 jobs – including all media specialist and K-12 literacy coach positions -- as part of a reorganization and staff-reduction plan that could save the district $8 million.

The district said it hopes to avoid layoffs by moving people holding those jobs into other open positions.

The changes will take place for the 2013-14 school year, when Pasco is anticipating a $23 million budget shortfall. The district plans a series of regional meetings where affected employees will learn more about transfer policies and job opportunities.

Superintendent Kurt Browning announced the job cuts and organization changes in a podcast shown to school employees throughout Pasco on Thursday.

"The current organizational structure has not produced the kind of results we want for our students," Browning said.

"Over the years we've increasingly taken teachers out of the classroom to perform other duties. My goal is to get back to where our instructional positions directly impact student achievement."

Browning said most media specialists and literacy coaches are certified teachers and he anticipates them finding classroom teaching jobs.

The district plans to work with them to identify areas where they could take exams to become certified in additional academic subjects, increasing their chances of finding another position. For most subjects, the district would reimburse the employees for the cost of the exam, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.

Schools will still staff media centers with one full-time media technology assistant at each school, Browning said.

Among other changes, the district plans to reduce the number of ESOL resource teaching jobs and special-education staffing and compliance positions, and change the way the remaining compliance teachers deliver services to schools.

That also could lead to the elimination of some administrative and non-instructional positions, Browning said.

In addition, administrative positions in adult education could be reduced and there could be some administrative moves among schools.

Plans to temporarily close Quail Hollow Elementary and Shady Hills Elementary for two-year renovation projects also could affect jobs. Teachers are expected to move with the students to other schools, but positions might not be available for all administrators and support personnel at the schools where the students are to be transferred.

Also, during the 2013-14 school year, the district will evaluate how technology specialists provide services to their schools, and changes in those services could be made for the 2014-15 school year.

"It's no secret that we have a shortfall that we have to address. My hope is to cover that shortfall and eventually be able to offer all of you raises," Browning told employees.

He acknowledged some people will be unhappy with the changes, but said the ultimate aim is to provide the best educational opportunities for students.

"Don't be afraid to tell me you disagree with my proposals," Browning said. "If you have other ideas or suggestions that you think will work better, please send me an email." (813) 371-1853 Twitter: @RBlairTBO