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409 Fort Worth school district workers leaving

FORT WORTH -- The South Hills High School principal and eight coaches from Arlington Heights High School are among 409 educators notifying the district that they will not return next school year.

To minimize layoffs, Fort Worth school officials hope to get 400 secondary teachers, 200 elementary teachers and 100 other degreed professionals -- such as principals, counselors and nurses -- to quit voluntarily.

Employees were offered a bonus of up to 10 percent of base salary if they notified officials by Feb. 29 that they are resigning or retiring at the end of the school year.

The bonus is 5 percent if employees notify by March 21.

As of Wednesday, the list of those not returning included 152 secondary teachers, 193 elementary teachers and 64 other degreed professionals, according to documents.

The district faces a shortfall of up to $45 million next school year. Officials hope to avoid some layoffs by getting an idea early of what positions will be vacant.

Nancy Sticksel was the only campus principal who has given notice that she will leave.

Sticksel said it was a "heart-wrenching decision because I love my school" but one she made for personal reasons. She declined to elaborate.

Sticksel took over South Hills in 2008 and has been credited by many with turning the campus around academically.

In 2011, 62 percent percent of students passed all portions of state tests, up from 32 percent in 2008, with significant gains in math and science.

Parent Wendy Hedge said Sticksel made a huge difference at both South Hills and McLean Middle School.

"She did a wonderful, wonderful job -- just the attitude that she brought to everything, like a 'we're-sticking-to-it' attitude," Hedge said.

Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700

Twitter: @fwstayala

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