Marion County Schools trying to avoid laying off more than 200 employees

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OCALA, Fla. —

Marion County school board members talked about what steps could be taken to get out of a financial hole and avoid laying off hundreds of employees Tuesday.

Dozens of people lined the streets outside the administration building in Ocala in support of laid-off teachers.

The school district is planning to lay off more than 200 employees, including 160 first-year teachers because of a $10 million budget deficit.

One eighth-grade student became emotional when addressing the school board Tuesday night.

"And if you really care about the students, what they deserve, you will do something," said Thomas Andersen.

"I think it’s unconscionable for each one of you to sit there and believe that there are no other solutions other than to cut," said Nancy Noonan, president of Marions United for Public Education.

Members agreed to hold a series of workshop meetings to explore ways to find more money so they wouldn't have to cut teachers or find other areas to cut.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for June 25 at 5:30 p.m.