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Teacher Fair Cancellation A Result Of Budget Crisis

High school district tries to soldier through even after elementary schools cancel, but to no avail.

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The annual Teacher Recruitment Fair,
scheduled for March 14, has been cancelled, the latest tradition to fall victim
to the state’s ongoing budget crisis.


“The
Hart District has decided to cancel the recruitment fair for this year and see
what the situation looks like next year,” explained Rochelle Neal, assistant
superintendent of human resources. The four partner elementary districts had
already indicated that they would not be participating, although a few were
considering a presence simply to support local education.

 

This
would have been the eighth year for the Recruitment Fair, which typically draws
more than 1,000 teachers interesting in K-12 teaching positions in local
schools. In the past, district administrative teams have conducted on-site
interviews for pre-registered candidates and were able to hire a number of
highly qualified teachers for open positions.

 

The
Hart District alone is looking at the possibility of having to make $29.5
million in budget cuts over the next two and a half years and is facing several
years of slight or no growth in enrollment. “Given these facts, we do not see
the need to further recruit teachers,” Neal continued.


The
local Recruitment Fair has proven a highly successful alternative to sending
recruitment teams to college employment fairs across the country. With the
ability to submit applications online, prospective teachers from across the
nation have been able to pass pre-screening and make appointments for actual
interviews at the local fair.


Last
year, the Hart District hired close to 40 new teachers to replace teachers who
were retiring or leaving the district, and to accommodate a modest growth in
enrollment. This year, local districts have indicated they don’t expect to hire
any new teachers, with the possible exception of hard-to-find specialists such
as speech and hearing and other special education teachers.

 

The
Hart District is working with its administrators, employees and unions to solve
the current budget crisis with solutions as far from personnel cuts as
possible. Any positions that become available through attrition would likely be
filled with teacher who might otherwise face layoffs, Neal indicated.