Many Teacher Positions Remain Unfilled As Schools Open

Many Teacher Positions Remain Unfilled As Schools Open

5:10am Aug 19, 2015
Students at Sedgefield Elementary in Greensboro learn about bullying prevention.
Keri Brown

School districts throughout the state are scrambling to fill vacant teacher positions as school opens next week in many counties.  Some of the areas with the highest vacancies are special needs, math and science.

In Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, there are nearly 80 teaching positions vacant, which is around 30 more than last year at this time.

Spokesperson Alexandra Hoskins says there’s a growing need for bilingual teachers who also speak Spanish and most of the vacant positions are at the elementary level.

“Our human resources department is working furiously to fill those positions with qualified candidates,” says Hoskins. “When we start school, we will start with perhaps some folks from our substitute pool, some of whom will be certificated fully, and some of whom who might not have certification. However, we anticipate having all of those positions filled as soon as possible.”

It’s a problem in all corners of the state. Guilford County Schools has about 50 teacher positions that haven’t been filled. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, one of the largest districts in the state, has whittled down its number to nearly 100 unfilled teacher positions from many more earlier in the summer. Superintendent June Atkinson says she expects more shortages moving forward.

“There’s the uncertainty in some school districts about how many teachers they can hire and there’s also the uncertainty as what will be the beginning in experienced teacher salaries in North Carolina,” says Atkinson. We also know that enrollment in our teacher preparation programs has dropped 27 percent since 2010, so that’s another factor.”

Last year’s state budget gave an average seven percent raise for some of the North Carolina’s lowest paid teachers. This year’s education spending plan hasn’t been released.

*Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news.

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