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Monday, June 24, 2024

Six teachers remain at Alachua eSchool

Teachers moved to brick-and-mortar schools due to low online enrollment, district says

<p>A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.</p>

A sign in front of the Alachua County Public Schools district office building is seen Sunday, June 6, 2021.

Alachua eSchool has lost seven of its original 13 teachers, leaving it with only six full-time instructors, according to the school directory.

The cuts are partially due to low enrollment in Alachua eSchool, Alachua County Public Schools spokesperson Jackie Johnson said. 

As more students enroll in brick-and-mortar schools and fewer enroll online, teachers from online school were moved to accommodate the amount of students at other schools.

“We need to add a certain number of allocated teacher units to this school and take away teacher units from this school,” Johnson said. “That happens every year in every district. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Teachers were not required to take jobs at other schools, Johnson added — but if they turned down an offer, they would no longer have a job at the eSchool either.

The Alligator contacted 11 of the teachers formerly listed in the eSchool directory, but none were willing to comment.

In an email to ACPS officials, including the superintendent, secondary eSchool teacher Amber Thomas contested the claim that enrollment was falling.

An anonymous account posted about cuts to the eSchool Aug. 21 in a community Facebook group about Alachua County Public Schools. ESchool teachers were made aware of whether they’d have to move the week of Aug. 14, according to the post — that is, the week after school started.

Johnson attributed this timing to the fact that student enrollment tends to rise throughout the first ten days of school. The district was not aware of just how many teachers would be needed until students started showing up for class, she said.

Commenters on Facebook speculated the teachers were moved to fill the teacher shortage in the county. There are 42 ACPS teaching jobs unfilled as of Sept. 1.

There were about 7,000 teaching positions open in Florida as of Aug. 10 — the first day of school, for much of the state — according to a Florida Education Association report

The state has experienced teacher shortages for more than a year. Teachers in English, science and math, along with other core subjects, were lacking last year, according to a 2022 Florida Department of Education report.

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With fewer teachers available for eSchool, students who are enrolled there full time will have priority registration in available classes. Part-time students who may want to take one class online will only be enrolled if there’s space available.

If a part-time class is not available through Alachua eSchool, students can take it through Florida Virtual School instead.

Contact Alissa at Follow her on Twitter @AlissaGary1.

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Alissa Gary

Alissa is a sophomore journalism major and University Editor at The Alligator. She has previously covered student government, university administration and K-12 education. In her free time, she enjoys showing photos of her cats to strangers.

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