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Volusia school district officials working to ease workload on special needs teachers

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Special needs, or ESE teachers in Volusia County, say their workload has gotten out of hand.

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The local teacher’s union, Volusia United Educators, blames the large amount of paperwork ESE teachers are tasked with completing on a 2021 Department of Justice Lawsuit against the district.

VUE President Elizabeth Albert described the situation as dire, and claims teachers are drowning in paperwork.

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“We just keep taking this on, taking this on, and at some point we have to say enough is enough because my wellness and my family has to be my priority,” said Albert.

A plan to lessen the load has become a priority to district leaders.

Executive Director for Exceptional Student Education Amanda Wiles said they are working to build planning days for ESE teachers into their work weeks. They’ll be replaced by a substitute during that time.

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Wiles says they also recently launched a pilot program in a handful of schools that digitizes paperwork. She believes it will be a faster way for teachers to fill out forms.

“We are very hopeful that we can push that district wide once we work out all the kinks so that teachers can readily do it on their computers rather than the paper,” said Wiles.

At last check, there were 34 vacancies in the district’s ESE department.

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Officials say they’re constantly holding job fairs and recruiting.

Next week, the school district will start a series of face-to-face meetings with ESE teachers to hear their concerns and better address their needs.

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