Local News

Schools Systems Face Teacher Shortages Before Start Of Year

Posted July 28, 2004

— Schools on a traditional calendar will start in just a few weeks and many local school systems are scrambling to find teachers to fill classrooms.

For example,

Wake County Schools

needs 120 teachers,

Durham Public Schools

and

Johnston County Schools

each need 50, and

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

need about 20 teachers.

Cumberland County Schools

are in the same situation. The school system has 230 new teachers, but needs 65 more.

"We're not in a panic. We're very hopeful that we'll find all of the people that we need," said Wanda McPhaul of Cumberland County Schools.

The school system is among the 100 largest in the country and Cumberland County educators are used to turnover.

McPhaul says while it is common to be short teachers this close to the start of school, the school system wants to fill the vacancies as soon as possible.

Matt Franks is one of the new teachers hired.

"I've been gearing up for this for two years," he said. "I've been doing substitute teaching and now it's kind of like, 'OK, here you go.'"

School officials say they are using advertising, the Internet, word of mouth -- pretty much anything to get teachers in their classrooms. A job fair held this week landed 15 new recruits.

"With the military presence here, that is a wonderful resource for us. It's a deep pool for us to tap," McPhaul said.

School officials need more people like Franks -- people fresh out of school or those looking for a new career.

Some of the hard-to-fill areas include math, special education, home economics and elementary education.

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