School district aims for state funding for Career and Technical Education

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 1/12/22

FLEMING ISLAND— With education always being a key topic for legislators in Tallahassee, Clay County School District board members are asking for funds to improve Career and Technical Education …

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School district aims for state funding for Career and Technical Education

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND— With education always being a key topic for legislators in Tallahassee, Clay County School District board members are asking for funds to improve Career and Technical Education teacher salaries and to expand programs at Fleming Island and Ridgeview highs.

At last week’s board meeting, the district asked for a $65,000 industry standard salary for CTE compared to the $47,500 beginning teacher salary.

According to the district, CTE teachers on a district-issued teaching certificate must have six years of experience in their field. The district also asked for increased funding for CTE programs, including internships and work-based learning.

Board member Tina Bullock asked if CTE teachers potentially coming in at a higher salary is a bargaining issue. Superintendent David Broskie emphasized the difficulty of finding the teachers with industry skill sets.

“I think it’s just to highlight the fact that people in the industry world have very unique skills and it would be very difficult to hire them at that current (beginning salary),” Broskie said.

Due to bargaining concerns, Board Member Janice Kerekes wanted language added to the priorities list to say the dollar amounts are examples. She asked how it was determined the district wanted $450,000 for a construction program at Fleming Island and $200,000 for a health science program at Ridgeview.

CTE Supervisor Alice Paulk said both programs have been on the district’s list for years, but funding was an issue. The need of for programs derives from an assessment completed by the district, she said.

The health science program at Ridgeview could limit CTE students zoned for the school from leaving for similar programs at other schools.

“Anything in health care is what Northeast Florida needs right now,” Paulk said.

For FIHS, she said students didn’t have a lot of hands-on opportunities.

“We felt like that was a good spot and a good program,” Paulk said. “They needed something new there.”

Later in the meeting, Kerekes asked about CTE possibilities at Orange Park High due to the influx of rezoned students it will receive soon. Board Member Ashley Gilhousen said she has been asked about a cosmetology program at the school.

Paulk replied that OPHS’ Teaching and Learning Center on campus was initially discussed about housing a cosmetology program. She said high-skill, high-wage job programs are viewed favorably by the state for funding, so the idea was put on hold.

“We would have a hard time finding funding to support those programs,” she added. “That’s not the direction, from the things that are coming out of the (state) CTE Department of Education, that they would look to support, but it’s definitely something we can look at.”

The priorities list was approved by board members unanimously.

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