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TAKE ACTION: Address School Staffing Shortages

Citrus County School District opened the 2021-22 school year with 50 instructional vacancies and 27 classified support vacancies advertised on their website. As of January 1st, the number of job postings has only increased--with 49 instructional vacancies and 36 support vacancies advertised.

To put that in perspective:

  • 42 of the instructional positions posted are for classroom teachers
  • 13 of the instructional positions posted are for teachers serving students with special needs
  • 5 of the instructional positions posted provide critical support services for the neediest students in our schools
  • 25 of the support positions posted are for paraprofessionals -- staff who are intended to provide direct support for learners
  • 10 of the posted paraprofessional positions are essential support for our neediest learners

The impact of understaffed schools has been felt by students and educators alike. In a year so critical to closing gaps created by disruptions to learning during the pandemic, there is no time to spare. Without legislative action, the staffing shortage will likely only get worse as over-worked teachers and staff are driven to consider leaving the jobs they love.

Unfortunately, the legislative session ahead of us could be dominated by distractions that do nothing to address the critical staffing shortages that FL's public school districts are contending with today. Public education advocates know that legislators elected by all of us have the power to enact changes which could draw the very most qualified job candidates and help retain valuable experienced educators here in Citrus Schools. We must be the voice that keeps our elected representatives focused on the REAL problems at hand, and we must make clear that REAL solutions are available! That's why we're calling on legislators to:

1. Fund public education in a way that helps us retain the highly qualified and experienced educators and staff needed to support learning.

2. Encourage qualified, experienced teachers to build careers in education with the opportunity to enter into long-term contracts.

3. Prioritize teacher-led assessments and learning over high-stakes, state-mandated standardized tests.

TAKE ACTION NOW: 

Contact your Representative and Senator and remind them that as the 2022 Legislative Session gets underway, you and your family are counting on them to invest in our future by addressing the teacher and staff shortages in our public schools. (A sample message is provided below)

Find my FL State Senator

Find my FL State Representative

 

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Dear Representative/Senator ____________,

As you begin what is certain to be a very busy legislative session, I am hopeful that the current teacher and staff shortage in CItrus County Schools is among your highest priorities to be addressed. Since the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, our district has struggled to fill approximately 85 vacancies--currently, 49 teacher positions and 36 support staff positions. This is a problem further exacerbated by a lack of available substitutes. These shortages result in over-crowded classrooms, over-worked educators, and limited access to much needed learning support. In a year when we are depending upon educators to close gaps created by disruptions to learning during the pandemic, it will be our students who suffer most as a result of these vacancies.

We are fortunate to have many excellent and dedicated teachers in here in Citrus County, but they are stretched thin and need help. There are things that can be done to attract and retain educators and to ensure our neighborhood public schools continue to be a point of pride for Citrus County. I am hopeful that you will have the opportunity to support these solutions in the weeks ahead:

1. Fund public education in a way that helps us retain the highly qualified and experienced educators and staff needed to support learning.

2. Encourage qualified, experienced teachers to build careers in public education with the opportunity to enter into long-term contracts.

3. Prioritize teacher-led assessments and learning over high-stakes, state-mandated standardized tests.

Citrus County is certainly not the only district facing serious staffing shortages. That is why I believe solutions must begin with our legislators in Tallahassee. I look forward to thanking you for your support!

 

Thank An Educator

May 3-7, 2021 ~ Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week has never meant quite so much...

Citrus County's educators have met the challenges of teaching during a pandemic with determination, creativity, patience, and care--all to keep students safe and learning. There is no doubt that our public school employees have truly gone above and beyond to support students and the community as a whole. Here's your opportunity to show appreciation for the unique contributions of the teachers and school staff who are making a difference every day!

Submit a shout-out to the teacher or school staff member that you'd like to recognize and we'll deliver your message to them along with a small token of appreciation!   

CLICK HERE

ACTION ALERT: Protect FRS

The Florida Retirement System (FRS) is routinely found to be one of the healthiest and well-funded in the country. Despite this fact politicians continue to attack it.

Ask Legislators to Pause High-Stakes Testing

Policy makers’ devotion to standardized testing and flawed measurements of learning gains under the guise of ‘accountability’ are stumbling blocks for high-quality instruction in a normal year. In the middle of a pandemic, such obsessions are no less than educational malpractice.

Email the Governor: Keep Students & Educators Safe in the Ongoing Pandemic

Though it seems the spread of the coronavirus through our community may be subsiding, the health and well-being of our students and educators is dependent upon the vigilance of every one of us. Even as we practice physical distancing and continue to wear masks, we know that more must be done to provide for the safest possible learning environment for EVERY student and public school employee. 

That's why we continue to call upon the Governor to take the following additional steps: