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Florida Virtual School cuts 177 full-time positions

Florida Virtual School, the state's online public school, shed 177 full-time positions on Monday, spokeswoman Tania Clow said.

The cuts, which eliminated about 10 percent of the full-time staff, were needed because pre-enrollment dipped 32 percent from last summer, Clow said.

Officials at Florida Virtual blamed a change to the state's education financing formula that went into effect this year. Under the new rules, traditional school systems receive fewer dollars than last year for students who enroll in one or more online courses.

In May, Florida Virtual School CEO Julie Young predicted the change would discourage school districts from enrolling their students in FLVS courses. The state education department followed up with a memo reminding superintendents that they could not limit online enrollment for financial reasons.

State Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican who chairs the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said the change to the funding formula was needed because Florida Virtual School was receiving a disproportionately large share of state education dollars.  

"Nothing in the recalibrated formula leads to a financial condition where districts need to reject kids from going into virtual," Fresen told The Herald/Times last month.

Earlier this summer, Florida Virtual cut 625 part-time instructor positions, and decided against filling 24 open-part time positions. 

"The entire FLVS family is saddened by the new realities we are facing," Clow wrote in a statement.

Clow said the online school would continue to serve children "at the highest level."

Florida Virtual School serves about 130,000 students from across the state. Students can either enroll full time, or take one or more classes in addition to their coursework at a traditional school.

Comments

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whasup

Isn't the point of this to help squeeze the government out of the virtual school business so private school companies can get more of the business?

just me

Shut this school down. It's so corrupt and has been for years. Nepotism and cronyism rule here! The legislature has finally caught on.

Freedom

I am a Republican and I support competition. I am also a teacher at FLVS and have been since 2001. My children attend FLVS as well. The problem with this legislation is that it is bad for children and limits, rather than encourages, choice. And as for what "rules here," it is simply putting students and family first - and I could not say that about the previous four schools at which I worked.

Violet

The teachers are illiterate. This is not a reasonable alternative.

Joe Citizen

State Rep. Erik Fresen is either uninformed, ignorant, or pushing an agenda favoring his district.

Just Curious

Why did FLVS keep hiring teachers when they were fully aware of enrollment and funding issues? Dozens of teachers gave up professional contracts and went to work for FLVS only to lose their jobs a short time later. A cynical perspective suggests that it was done to help rid the state of those pesky professional contracts. A more ominous possibility suggests that FLVS simply tried-out teachers for a time and cast those out not deemed worthy enough during the budget bath. The last possibility is that FLVS is simply mismanaged and sought to keep HR busy burning up budgeted fiscal year money all the way through June 30.

Truth Seeker

I wonder what the list of Rep. Erik Fresen's campaign contributions from FLVS's competitors looks like. I smell corruption!

Tom

I am one of the teachers who was released due to lack of enrollment. The FLVS leadership told us in May that with the new funding model, there were no guarantees. If we wanted certainty, we should return to the traditional school districts. No one was misled. I've never believed in anything like I believe in FLVS. I grew more professionally in two years than I have in the past 20. I will work tirelessly to return to this school.

Vita

just me: This school is the best school I have ever went. My grades are all A's and B's and I have had some of the best teachers. I am now in 12th grade and in the Charlotte Virtual School program which uses FLVS. I hope this school never closes!! GO FLVS! :)

The real issue

Even towards the end of May, instructors and other personnel were still being hired at FLVS. HR representatives kept wooing people to FLVS without saying boo about budget and enrollment issues. Disclosure came after the fact for many of these people who had just given up a secure job to go to work for FLVS. They should have began disclosing months ago to all these people before they hired them that FLVS was facing enrollment and budget challenges which could result in a massive lay-off. It's totally wrong to roll the dice with people's lives like that. I hope FLVS undergoes a total change in HR policies to prevent that from happening again. For now, I have little confidence in the organization. After all, who plays with people's lives like that?

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