The good news: The Broward County School Board is creating 678 new teaching positions.
The bad news: It's being done on the backs of about a thousand layoffs among non-teaching staff.
Supt. Robert Runcie finally quantified the number of out-of-the-classroom layoffs in the district yesterday: 605 last year, and 380 happening this year.
This is what Runcie promised: getting as much of the resources in the classroom as possible. And the addition of teachers will surely be a popular move. But that's a lot of pain and time will tell if those layoffs -- in the maintenance and transportation departments, among others -- will adversely affect the schools. If school buses break down and roofs crumble people won't be so happy either.
One of those employees hit with a layoff letter this week was school board maintenance supervisor and whistleblower extraordinaire Michael Marchetti. I told you about that yesterday and here's an update: Marchetti saved his job. In the "bumping" system set up in the collective bargaining agreement, Marchetti found another school board employee with less seniority. Now that employee, who happens to have two young children, will have to find a new job.
While working folks are getting the ax, Runcie has beefed up the higher-paid bureaucracy, adding about a quarter million dollars to that upper line. Why the district needs more middle managers nobody really knows: Runcie gave no good answers when asked about it at a recent meeting by school board members.
It's all a balancing act and time will tell if Runcie has got it right.
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