Duval Teachers United

Navigating Challenges

May 9, 2024

On Friday, April 26th, the district released a communication about budget cuts to Duval County Schools due to declining student enrollment and the loss of COVID-19 related relief funds (ESSER). The district communicated that there would be an 11% reduction at the district level and a 6% reduction at the school level, potentially affecting an estimated 199 district- level positions and 507 school-based positions.

Upon learning of these cuts, which are anticipated to lead to larger class sizes, DTU immediately demanded to engage in impact bargaining and insisted that the district refrain from making any cuts until this bargaining process is completed. DTU has undertaken numerous records requests and conducted a thorough analysis of the budget to ensure adherence to the contract. We have meticulously scrutinized the list of employees facing displacement at the district level to verify compliance with the contractual procedures. Transparency from the district throughout this process is of utmost importance.

On April 29th, we met with the district to engage in impact bargaining on behalf of the UOPD unit affected by the district-level cuts. During this meeting, we were informed that the objective is to surplus these positions into comparable roles within the same pay band. School administrators will be meeting during the first two weeks of May to conduct budget meetings that will determine necessary school-based reductions. DTU remains steadfast in our commitment to advocate for our members, and we will keep you informed as we learn more.

One of our primary concerns is for our teachers and students who will be in overcrowded classrooms. Larger class sizes have repercussions on all facets of learning, from behavior to personalized instruction. The mission of Duval County Public Schools is “To deliver educational excellence in every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day.” The decision to overcrowd our classrooms will render this mission unattainable for the teachers and students in Duval County public schools.

            This month, DTU celebrates 50 years of serving our educational community. We have supported our members through times of abundance and in the face of budgetary challenges; amidst legislative efforts that threaten public education and historic teacher shortages, DTU remains steadfast in our commitment to securing the best possible working conditions and wages for our members. We recognize that successful classrooms rely on the recruitment and retention of exceptional teachers and staff. Therefore, we will persist in our efforts to make Duval County Public Schools a place where all employees can carry out the crucial work of preparing our children for the future.

In Solidarity,

Tammie Brooks-Evans                                            Jessica Reyst

DTU President                                                          DTU Vice President