School districts still looking to hire teachers, bus drivers days before school starts
District officials say they're recruiting and hiring for the open positions
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Central Florida school districts are preparing for the new school year to start, but some school districts sill need to hire teachers to fill open positions.
In Osceola County, there are 112 open teacher positions posted on the school district's website two days before school starts.
Apryle Jackson, president of the Osceola County Education Association, said she is not surprised by the number of openings.
"The turnover is huge. People come here from out of state, they teach a couple of years, go back up north," Jackson said.
The openings range across different subjects for all grade levels. Some openings are for positions outside of the classroom.
Jackson said there are several reasons why it is hard for school districts to keep teachers. The biggest reason is the pay.
"Currently, Florida is 47th in teacher salaries for their averages and if someone can work in another state and make $10,000 to $15,000 more, they're not coming to Florida," she said.
Teacher shortages are a problem across all of Central Florida.
At the start of this school year, Marion County schools reported 36 openings. There are 20 vacancies in Lake County and 19 vacancies in Seminole County.
District officials with Orange County said they are hoping to fill 40 to 80 teacher positions, which represents 0.005 percent of the teachers employed by the district, before school starts Monday. Officials said if the positions aren't filled, instructional coaches will be in the classrooms.
School districts are also scrambling to hire bus drivers. In Seminole County, officials are looking to hire up to 15 drivers. Orange County school officials said they still need to hire 50 bus drivers.
Several school districts said they are still recruiting and hiring new teachers.
Jackson said the job is challenging, but teachers do it for one reason.
"We stay in the classrooms for the kids," Jackson said. "Children are our number one priority and we stay in the classrooms because we care about the children."
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