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36 may not be offered contracts with Gainesville schools
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Gainesville schools may not offer contracts to 24 part-time employees and 12 noncertified teachers for the 2009-10 school year.

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the system does not yet have enough financial information on the state budget picture and local tax revenues to make a definite decision on whether the system will be able to employ those 36 people next school year.

Because the system is not certain it will be able to renew the contracts, it is required by law to inform affected employees of their employment status for next year by April 15, she said.

State law requires systems to offer certified teacher contracts by April 15. Dyer said the system expects to get firmer financial details sometime after that deadline, but "it’s clear by April 15 we will not have the information we need to have."

She said 24 employees who work less than full time and 12 teachers who have not completed their certifications could receive the nonrenewal letters by mid-April.

"They all may be offered a contract after April 15," Dyer said of those employees. "... The longer we wait the more information we may have, but the longer we wait the more information we may not, so we need to prepare them."

Dyer said the news should not come as a shock to the recipients of the letters.

"They’ve been told for a long time now that if we don’t have enough information before the deadline, we will not be renewing part-time employee and noncertified contracts until we have more information from the legislature on the budget," she said.

Dyer said state budget figures and local tax revenues remain "sketchy," making it difficult to determine how much the system will receive from state and local governments. Without clear figures to work with, she said the system cannot renew all of next year’s contracts with definite salary figures.

"With our local ad valorem, we’re just working with (the city’s finance director) and scratching our head and thinking, ‘Hmmm, how bad could it get?’" Dyer said.

Dyer said the system does not plan to enact its reduction in force protocol, a strategic plan to cut tenured teachers from the system. Teachers who have worked in a school system for four years are considered tenured and must be given a reason for dismissal, according to the Fair Dismissal Act.

Two weeks ago, the system informed five employees their teaching contracts would not be renewed for next year because of poor performance.

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