Teacher layoffs a lingering concern as student population drops

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With students leaving our area after Hurricane Michael, a lingering concern is teacher layoffs in Bay District Schools.

District officials said if they do not receive any help from the state legislature, it could lead to major layoffs.

According to Bay District Schools, if legislators and the governor do not help, this is what staff reductions would look like:
-A loss of 3,500 students would equal 446 jobs (233 teachers)
-4,000 students would equal 510 jobs (267 teachers)
-5,000 students would equal 637 jobs (333 teachers)

School officials said they have been working with State Senator George Gainer, Congressman Neal Dunn, and State Representative Jay Trumbull for months.

Trumbull has a few goals going into the session to bring relief to the district.

"If we can make sure that we do a couple of things: One is we find adequate dollars. Two is that we do our best to hold harmless the funding amounts that are coming from the state for a full-time student," he said.

According to district officials, while a number of factors can impact funding per student, they say the average amount received per student is about $7,000.

Mothballing schools would also save money. District officials said in the past, the district could save around $750,000 when a campus is closed. However, that number varies depending on school size, the age of the campus, and employee salaries.

They said if the state does not approve funding, the district has no choice but to consider staff layoffs. If approved, the district said it should be able to avoid a large number of layoffs.

The legislative session begins in March.