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Teachers, parents and students voice concerns over Hillsborough County School District teacher changes

Many argue in a year with so many changes already, reassigning teachers negatively impacts their students' learning process.

The Hillsborough County superintendent says the decision to reassign some teachers is meant to help balance the budget. 

But, it's having a ripple effect on students. 

"We all just kind of started crying because it was hard to know that our teacher was going to be leaving us," elementary student Sophia Horvath said.

From elementary students to guidance counselors, many expressed their concern with the changes.

"Where my sadness comes from is for the kids," Burney Elementary School counselor Rebecca Schlorf said. "So many of them have trauma or little-to-no stability in their lives and the counseling support they get really helps them a lot."

Word spread that more than 400 positions won't be filled this year, and some teachers have to be reassigned, causing stress even for parents.

"After such a stressful year, to have students settle in and then teachers ripped away from them just when they were building relationships has been disruptive and traumatic for kids already dealing with a lot," parent Melissa Horvath said.

In a year with so many changes from COVID-19, parents also worry about the quality of teaching.

"My wife and I are concerned about how these teacher changes will affect classes and advanced learning programs. They are already having a hard time with it right now and they will be losing another teacher," parent Gordy Horvath said.

The Hillsborough County School District says this process of reassigning teachers and putting them into a pool happens every school year. And, teachers with seniority are favored. They say teachers will know if they are filling another role by the end of next week once the pool process is done. 

But, some still worry that those changes won't benefit students.

"As educators, it goes back to relationship building. I can't stress that enough. Relationship building is key to having good classroom management and being able to understand kids who really struggle," Schlorf said.

One student is already planning on bringing those concerns to the district.

"I'm writing a letter to the school district in Hillsborough County to let them know how this is affecting me and how it could change for the better," Sophia Horvath said.

It's not clear how many teachers will be impacted by reassignments until the pool process is done next week.

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