Massive employee lay-offs avoided according to Superintendent Husfelt

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Updated 4/26/19 at 5:52 p.m.
Superintendent of Bay District Schools Bill Husfelt held a meeting today to discuss the topic of funding for Bay District Schools.

"It's been 197 days, 22 hours, 37 minutes, and 37 seconds since Hurricane Michael has hit and Congress still hasn't done anything," said Husfelt.

The Superintendent was able to deliver what he says is good news Friday after weeks of hundreds fearing for their jobs at Bay District schools.

"Our goal was, as all of you know, was to bring back all of the employees that we possibly could, we're, as I said, we're not where we wanted to be but again this is the best plan," said Husfelt.

After asking for $25,000,000 from the State, they recently found out they will be getting $12.4,000,000, depending on whether Governor Ron Desantis signs the bill.

"At this point there are 288, actually 288 and a half teachers, that Bay District Schools has not given notification of a job next year, we believe that with this plan we'll get that down to about 100, approximately 100 will not be asked back next year," said Husfelt.

Some of that money will go towards the charter schools in the county.

After money from the state, the triumph fund, and the various efforts the district has made to save money, around $20,000,000 will go towards non-chartered Bay District Schools for the next school year.

Many at the meeting expressed relief over the announcement.

Alexis Underwood, President of Association Bay County Educators, said, "While we didn't get everything we hoped for, it is certainly much better than we had feared, and we had been working for weeks and months in preparation for the worst."

Teachers will find out next Friday May 3rd if they have been renewed for the next school year.

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The email below was sent to all Bay District School employees:

I am relieved to be able to tell you that our financial picture looks a lot more promising today than it has in the past few weeks and months. Two days ago I received confirmation that $12.4 million is included in the state's budget and we expect Governor DeSantis to sign it.

That, coupled with cuts we have already made and employee attrition caused by the storm, means that we will be able to avoid the massive lay offs we were once having to consider as a worst case scenario. As you know, we have already lost 228 employees, have instituted a district-wide spending freeze and have saved about $1.5 million in utilities. We further saved funds by the temporary mothballing of schools and the savings associated with closing the emergency employee daycare in June (a move we certainly wish we did not have to make).

This morning I had a conference call with our principals to let them know that a second wave of instructional renewals are now approved. Unfortunately, we still can't renew everyone but that is no different than any other year. We do anticipate, once funding stabilizes and we know how many students are returning, additional hiring throughout the summer. More updates will be coming soon regarding support renewals for next year. Since we have, unfortunately, already lost so many support employees as a result of the storm we anticipate being able to renew most support employees.

I know that the current situation has caused a lot of angst throughout our district so I am glad to be able to share some hope and some good news. As I said at today's press conference, our children need YOU more than ever before ... I appreciate each of you and I know that our families echo my gratitude.

Very sincerely,

Bill Husfelt