• Clay County School District cuts positions off hiring list

    By: Brittany Jones


    CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - Parents are questioning the Clay County School District's decision to cut positions. The district is looking for ways to save money without sacrificing resources.

    Cuts to the classroom are words no parent wants to hear.

    "None of us want to see teachers get cut, even with bodies not in them yet, nobody wants to see that happen," said Brandy Stasiak.

    Stasiak is upset now that the district is getting rid of 80 potential positions.

    She's concerned more class sizes could increase, but the district said it is currently in good standing with the state and class size shouldn't be an issue.

    The position cuts include everything from language arts, to music and physical education.

    "The allocation is a job position, we're not looking at cutting human bodies that are performing and want to reach that are getting good evaluations," said Superintendent Charles Van Zant.

    Van Zant said each year, they can normally hire about 250 staff members once some retire or leave the district, but now that number will decrease to about 170. He said they're looking to save about $4 million dollars.

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    "We would look like P.E., music, art, media, technology in every school, but we're at a point where we have to look at our fiscal outlook and make sure we maintain a level of fiscal health," said Van Zant.

    Van Zant said the amount of money the district currently has is still below the state's acceptable percentage. Action News asked for a dollar amount, but he said that's unclear at this time.

    "If more students show up, we could always come back and ask the school board to add more allocations," said Van Zant.

    Van Zant said some schools in the county are down hundreds of students for enrollment.

    "Our enrollment is going to be down because we're giving away our students to the charter school industry and we're doing it because we're not offering the same things charter schools are offering," said Clay Education Association president Reena Lee Paiva.

    But parents said education should not come as an expense for their children.

    "We definitely see the impact of when we're short someone. You just need all hands on deck all the time," said Stasiak.

    The district said it's projecting about 35,000 students next school year. It also added the cuts will likely happen at schools with lower enrollment.

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