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Broward school officials headed to NYC to recruit teachers despite local layoffs

From the Broward Teacher’s Union:

While School Board members meet today, Tuesday, Mar. 9, 2010, in a workshop at the K.C. Wright Building in Fort Lauderdale to discuss possible employee layoffs, district officials will head to New York City later this week on the taxpayers’ dime to recruit new teachers.

Broward Teacher’s Union President Pat Santeramo said School Board members have every excuse in the book for continually wasting taxpayer dollars and the officials’ recruiting “junket” to New York City this week is just another sad example. This week, Superintendent Jim Notter is sending officials to the “Big Apple” to recruit new teachers under the “pretense” that the trip is funded by a federal grant. Despite repeated claims that Broward schools are in a “fiscal crisis,” School Board members have authorized district officials to, once again, fritter away tax dollars by purchasing print advertising in the New York Times and to send “recruiters” on an “all expenses paid” out of state trip in search of new employees.

“On the same day School Board members are meeting in a workshop to discuss more layoffs, employees find the board members’ abuse of the district’s already limited tax dollars to be outrageous,” Santeramo said. “The grant dollars that they are talking about came from taxpayers and, frankly, voters are tiring of the School Board members crying poor while they authorize such blatant waste of the district’s limited funding.”

Santeramo added Florida has an 11.8 percent unemployment rate and about 800 teachers statewide experienced layoffs last year. While School Board members laid off 398 Broward teachers last school year, all but 23 were hired back. Dozens of laid off teachers chose to leave district.

Superintendent Jim Notter has threatened more layoffs may be required next year while employees continue asking School Board members to get serious about cutting waste from the school system’s $2 billion operations budget. Employees have provided board members with a list of ways to eliminate tax dollar waste, but Superintendent Jim Notter has instead opted for cutting the budget primarily through employee layoffs, leaving the district’s bloated bureaucratic structure virtually untouched.

Santeramo believes irrespective of whether the district official’s “Big Apple” recruiting junket is paid for by a federal grant or not, the tax dollars would be better spent in South Florida or in other parts of the cash-strapped state. He said in addition to the hundreds of Florida teachers who are looking for jobs, many more new education graduates will complete their university studies in the next couple months.

“Taxpayers rightfully question the School Board members’ claims that they cannot balance the district’s multi-billion dollar budget when they hear crazy stories like officials heading to New York City on an all expenses paid recruiting trip.

“Sadly, employees observe this kind of flagrant tax dollar misuse nearly every day, but School Board members just ignore their suggestions for cutting waste.

“School Board members operate in a completely different world than their employees who have to count every penny to educate students,” Santeramo said. verified the NYC recruitment here at

Contact the Broward School Board members here:

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Mar 8 2010. Filed under Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Broward school officials headed to NYC to recruit teachers despite local layoffs”

  1. Ken Westervelt

    I absolutely understand the outrage, and yet I’m almost as mad that the tone felt more like an opinion piece leaving out critical information. Why was “Broward Teacher’s Union” never fully printed in the article? Do we know the purpose of the federal grant? Is there a dearth of local applications for teaching jobs? Why wasn’t the school board contacted to add their comments? I don’t want to take the school board’s side in this, but this reads like a union press release, not a news article.


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