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Cumberland, Johnston, Durham among counties working to fill teacher vacancies

Posted August 5

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— While some parents and students have begun scrambling for school supplies, some school districts are scrambling for teachers.

As of Aug. 5, Cumberland County still needs to fill 64 teaching positions.

Dan Krumanocker, principal of Cumberland Polytechnic High School, is one of the lucky principals who already has a full staff. Last year at this time, his technical skills-based school has 100 vacancies.

"Timing is the key with vacancies," he said. "We start early in Cumberland County. We always have started early in the spring for the upcoming year."

April Johnson is a first-year drama teacher at Reid Ross Classical School. She loves her job, but said North Carolina could do more to bring and keep teachers onboard.

"A greater amount of money would be something that, it would keep people on board," Johnson said. "Then, of course, benefit packages. They are already pretty decent but they could go a little bit further."

Kathy Thayer has been teaching for 35 years. She says some of the benefits that teachers used to get have been taken away.

"It takes longer to get vested into the program," she said. "They no longer acknowledge master’s degrees. They acknowledge them, but you're not going to be supplemented to paid for them."

Tom Hatch said during a teacher recruitment trip to Buffalo, New York, he walked in and saw a big sign from a Texas-based school system saying "teachers wanted, starting salary $52,000."

"It's really hard to compete with a $52,000 starting salary," he said. "I am not talking about a total package of benefits. Cash money."

Hatch said North Carolina has other types of things that teachers look for.

"The attraction for us when I interview teachers from that area was the weather, great climate, we are near the coast, we are near the mountains,” Hatch said. “You've got a great arts emphasis going on in our state. So, those are definitely pluses that we have.”

Currently, Johnston County School said they were working to fill 78 teacher vacancies and Durham Public Schools had roughly 75 vacancies.

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  • Sean Chen Aug 6, 3:43 a.m.
    user avatar

    Even more than money, the schools need to back the teachers.

    Many NC teachers feel that they are alone and are the first ones scapegoated by districts when anything goes wrong.

    Hard to fill a position when the pay is low, morale is low, experienced teachers are/have left for other states, and knowing they'll sacrifice you first.