Florida briefly

Published August 16, 2006

Nearly 2,000 teacher jobs still to be filled statewide

MIAMI - Nearly 2,000 teaching positions in public schools are unfilled statewide as the academic year opens, education officials said Tuesday.

The number is down from about 2,300 at the start of last school year. School officials say they are hiring more teachers daily and making up the deficit with substitutes in the meantime.

Officials said they were unsure what to attribute the improvement to. "We don't know if it's retention or recruitment," said Cathy Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Florida Education Department.

Smugglers put 20 Cubans ashore on Marco Island

MARCO ISLAND - Twenty Cuban migrants came ashore in southwest Florida Tuesday morning after smugglers brought them there in at least one small fishing boat, authorities said.

The Border Patrol detained the 14 men, four women, a teenage girl, a toddler boy and two suspected smugglers early Tuesday, said Border Patrol spokesman Steve McDonald. Ten migrants were treated for dehydration at a hospital.

The Cubans told authorities they left Pinar Del Rio in western Cuba on Sunday. They thought they had landed in Miami.

Under the U.S. wet-foot, dry-foot policy, the 20 migrants likely will be allowed to stay in this country because they reached land. The two smuggling suspects are being held while evidence is evaluated.