County Budget Cuts Leading to Teacher Layoffs and Dissolved Classes


Emilee Namphengsone, Staff Writer

During the past few months, Hillsborough County tackled financial obstacles with teacher layoffs and substitute roles. 

According to Hillsborough County Public Schools, these unemployed teachers are part of a “staffing adjustment.” Teachers hired before August 14, 2020, will not lose their jobs but may be reassigned to other schools instead. A message was sent out to parents.

Despite payroll and budget cuts, the absence of teachers has had a great impact on students, staff and parents. Social Students Department Head Patrick Geonconteri gives insight on the effects of substitute teachers and the county’s counterproductiveness towards the situation. 

“This year, I think an experienced teacher is highly qualified for the job. Teaching on the fly, you need the years of experience,” said Geonconteri. “We [teachers] definitely have more on our plate. We’re not trained, as professionals, to be online teachers. With lack of experienced teachers and not enough pay, there’s more responsibility for the teachers. It’s so chaotic and everyone is affected by it. Even if you’re not part of education, somehow or someway, [you] are also affected.”

Florida, currently, is one of the lowest-paying states. Lack of pay causes potential teachers to turn away from the state, thus, adding more stress to the community. 

According to the Tampa Bay Times, superintendent Addison Davis stated in an email that he is not cutting money from music, art or magnet programs and believes that the transition is more “natural” for students, staff and parents. 

Public statistics from Davis show that 424 vacant positions will not be filled this year while another 333 positions are being eliminated completely.

However, the exact number of Gaither teachers eliminated or laid off is unknown and information about the spring semester is very limited. 

The new and sudden absence of teachers has caused many classes to dissolve in order to adjust to the teaching population. Classes with fewer students were prone to these dissolvements. 

“I’m very sad to hear that teachers lost their jobs,” said senior Melissa Baldelomar. “Second period AP Stats was the only time I could take that class. After the class was dissolved, I had to choose another class to take its place.” 

Baldelomar replaced her AP Statistics class with Concert Orchestra after the first quarter. 

As Gaither slowly approaches the middle of the year, teachers face a lot of stress with keeping up with their classes–both online and in-person–as they lift the weights left by the county. It is important for students and staff to continue adapting to the new challenges presented this year.