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Real story behind teachers returning

The education outlook, as far as educators are concerned, may or may not be as bleak as it appeared at the end of the school year based on a statement issued by Governor Bob Riley recently, which stated that teachers who were &uot;pink-slipped&uot; this summer will be called back to their jobs this fall, regardless of what happens with his tax plan.

Butler County Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed said that there needs to be an asterisk at the end of that statement because it might be misleading for some teachers.

&uot;They need to add ‘unless the school is suffering from declining enrollment’ to the statement,&uot; Reed said. &uot;Also, although Senate Bill No. 1 (the bill that called for the hiring of teachers at 2003 levels) passed, no funding for paying those teachers was provided.&uot;

Reed said the confusion centers around the fact that although 20 non-tenured positions were eliminated in Butler County at the end of the 2002-03 school year, not all of those positions were removed due to the state’s funding crisis.

&uot;Some of those positions were funded through local funding or grants that are no longer available,&uot; he said. &uot;They won’t be returning because the funding is no longer there. We also have a decrease in our enrollment for the next school year, which reduces the number of teaching units we are allowed through the state, so we won’t be calling some back for that reason.&uot;

Reed said that 20 people were &uot;pink-slipped,&uot; this year, but only seven units will be available this fall, and some of those units are not in the areas available to the teachers who were let go.

&uot;Some units became available due to retiring or transferring teachers,&uot; the county superintendent said. &uot;They may be teaching a unit that a &uot;pink-slipped&uot; teacher isn’t qualified for, so although a unit is available, he or she can’t teach that subject. Some or all of those seven units may be filled by new teachers, instead of the ones that were let go.&uot;

In summary, there appears to be several factors (especially in the Butler County situation) that doubtlessly question Gov. Riley’s all-inclusive statement about re-hiring all &uot;pink-slipped&uot; teachers.