ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Experienced local teachers are being told to reapply for their jobs, while the Clay County School Board spends thousands on the search for their potential replacements.
Jim Burge cycled his kids through the Clay County school district.
"We were not real happy with the Duval County schools so we moved to Clay County because we heard it was a better school system and it's proved to be true," said Burge.
Burge is right, according to records obtained by Action News, there isn't a single teacher in Clay County that was rated unsatisfactory.
But it may surprise you to learn that some of the highest-rated teachers are being told to reapply for their own jobs.
Back in April, Action News told you about the district sending a letter to 70 teachers. It stated they can reapply for other open positions in the future.
More than 40 of those teachers are still in limbo. Action News looked into the performance record for each teacher in question.
It turns out, district documents show administrators rated all 46 effective or highly effective.
"The older ones have all the experience, so why not keep the veterans and let them lead the new ones into the school system," said Burge.
The decision isn't sitting well with the president of the Clay County Education Association, Renna Lee Paiva.
"I just can't understand why we can't have jobs for them," said Paiva. "We're still hiring people that have never worked in Clay before."
The hires could cost tax payers thousands. Action News Ryan Smith obtained a breakdown of the district's recruitment trips this year.
The trips include visits to universities across the state of Florida, and schools in Alabama, Virginia, even New York at a cost of more than $11,000.
"To sit there and say we're going to spend all this money on recruitment, we're going to go after these people, then I still have 46 highly-effective teachers sitting there without jobs. That's a concern," said Paiva.
Each teacher in Clay County goes through an annual evaluation by school administrative staff.
Action News reached out to Clay County Schools leaders, but as of Wednesday night our calls and emails were not returned.