Cumberland hunts for teachers as school approaches

Posted July 21, 2014

— In about a month, traditional calendar students will jam the hallways of Cumberland County schools. Whether there will be enough teachers there to greet them remains a question.

Superintendent Frank Till said Monday that the district still needs to hire about 100 teachers. Not only is that figure higher than in years past, many of the vacancies are among special education teachers, and he said there simply aren't enough qualified teachers in that field to go around.

"What's hurt us in our own filling the spots is states are recruiting our veteran teachers out of our schools. So, I've had schools lose as many as six teachers to as far away as Georgia, where people come in and recruit," Till said.

Although state and local school officials cannot give an exact number for how many teachers have left North Carolina for higher-paying jobs in other states, Till said that attendance at teacher job fairs in North Carolina has been down by 60 percent this year, and the number of other states recruiting at those job fairs has gone up.

North Carolina lawmakers continue to haggle over teacher pay and teaching assistants in the 2014-15 state budget. Senate leaders want to give teachers a bigger raise to move the state closer to the national average in teacher salaries, while House members don't want to sacrifice teaching assistants in early grades to pay for those raises.

"I would hope that we could get a raise because sometimes we feel very under-appreciated, and it really does have an effect on you psychologically," said Natalie Carlisle, who has worked in Cumberland County schools for 13 years and now teaches leadership skill classes at Reid Ross Classical School in Fayetteville.

Till said he will have to be creative to patch classes together while he continues to search for more teachers, adding that he might have to settle for teachers with less experience to cover some special ed classrooms.


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  • Terry Watts Jul 24, 2014

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    Let's ask another question: why would you not help a US Army Soldier, whose family lives in Fayetteville, educate his/her children??? Or do you think they are a bunch of suckers for taking on the responsibility of defending the rest of us???

  • Matt Wood Jul 22, 2014

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    First, that's not really how supply and demand works. It's not an "if supply goes down demand/prices go up" direct relationship. According to the graduate-level economics class I took, it's a much more complex issue that involves needing the market to be at perfect competitive levels (which is not possible) to even work the way it's defined, and it is more along the lines of "how much supply are suppliers willing to sell at specific price points consumers are willing to pay?"

    Regardless, that's certainly not how it works in public education, as there is no "market" to drive wages up since wages can only be increased by the GA and supply is decided by how many people are willing to become teachers at the rate the GA will pay them, not how many teachers schools are willing to provide at specific price points.

  • Terry Watts Jul 22, 2014

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    Did you teach yourself, or did someone teach you? I think you just answered your own question...

  • Terry Watts Jul 22, 2014

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  • moveyextraz Jul 22, 2014

    Or if we wait for the laws of supply and demand, there will be higher demand for teachers and less supply of teachers, therefore letting the market drive wages up.

    The problem I have is: why is it someone elses responsibility to educate your children? Public education is just another failed entitlement.

  • jlh4jdj Jul 22, 2014

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    Yeah keep that thought going. It's funny that so many people don't get it. If this were a store it would have closed long ago. If I own a store and pay my people way less than the store next door who do you think will get the better people to work for them? Then after that I take away any other incentive for my people. Then make them pay for everything they need for their job what do you think will happen? Then I sit there and wonder why it's so hard to keep my store open and making money? Why I can't find enough people to work. So keep blaming the teachers!

    Education is for the betterment of society as a whole. So if you drive education down, society will follow close behind!

  • Da Toy Maker Jul 22, 2014

    Looks like the Teachers are taking advice "If you don't like it, leave". Would be interesting to see the State Wide situation when schools start back next month.

  • Super Hans Jul 22, 2014

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    No, teachers said they wanted to stay here, but would have to go where they could earn a living wage. Well, here we are. You can thank GOP arrogance. Let them eat cake!

  • Super Hans Jul 22, 2014

    Well done, GOP, well done.

  • jackaroe123 Jul 22, 2014

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    The same amount is also cut from the state budget, so there is no net gain, and the money schools do get is limited to certain things, particularly new construction, so it's really construction companies getting "school money" and schools have no additional help staffing and maintaining those new constructions.