Knox County Schools considers contract with Florida program to fill vacancies to support virtual learning

Knox County Schools looking to hire enough teachers ahead of the school year
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:01 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Wednesday, Knox County Schools superintendent Bob Thomas told the board at its monthly work session that he will share a proposed contract with Florida Virtual School.

Thomas told WVLT there are nearly 163 classified and certified teaching vacancies within the district, ahead of the 2020-21 school year. If those vacancies aren’t filled, Thomas said more than 1,000 students would not be able to be placed in the virtual program they’ve enrolled in.

He also says outsourcing the teachers for virtual learning would cost an estimated $1.5 million per semester. Totaling up to $3 million for the whole school year.

Parents of students attending school virtually shared their thoughts on having teachers from Florida Virtual School teaching their children

“I don’t have any concerns with that as long as those teachers are credentialed to teach and are good teachers. When you do online college classes, you know teachers are from all over and you don’t necessarily know them and also in the business world we’re doing Zoom meetings and meeting other people form other businesses that way,” said Nikki Dickson, a parent of a KCS student.

Another parent, Erin Slocum, said she wished they could find ways to keep the teaching local.

“I feel like everyone on the school level aren’t being paid what they need, and there are so many schools that need extra things. The thought of outsourcing to the Florida Virtual School, which by all accounts looks pretty credible, I wish we could have come up with a way to keep it local and keep it tight in our community to utilize these great teachers Knox County already has.”

WVLT News reached out to Florida Virtual School, they could not comment at this time, because an agreement has yet to be made.

The contract is expected to be discussed on August 12th at KCS school board meeting.

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