VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – School is just a month away, and Central Florida districts are working in overdrive to hire more teachers and employees.
Volusia County Schools has hundreds of openings, and the teachers union presidents said that with how big of a shortage they’re facing this close to the start of the school year, there won’t be enough teachers for the number of enrolled students.
This means there could be more students this year per classroom.
“Let’s face it: when you have so many vacancies, it just doesn’t work,” said Elizabeth Albert, President of Volusia United Educators.
Volusia County schools’ latest numbers show 365 openings for teachers. Across the state, the Florida Education Associations said there are more than 9,000 openings.
“We are all competing for a small pool of folks to fill those vacancies,” Albert said.
Albert said the occupation is getting tougher — and so is holding onto current teachers.
The county raised base pay for new hires to $47,500, but there hasn’t been much of an increase in state budget for those already working.
The average salary in Florida is a little more than $51,000 compared to the national average of approximately $65,000.
It’s an issue Volusia County district leaders and the union said they’re working on this summer.
“All school districts are strapped with some parameters with how funding can be used, and we want the collective bargaining process to take its natural course, as well. But we’re working together to address the compression issues,” said Christy Mahaney, Volusia County School District’s Coordinator for Recruitment and Retention.
Mahaney said the district is also in need of support positions like bus drivers, custodians and maintenance workers. The district currently has more than 400 support vacancies.
“As of July 1, all of our minimum wage positions are $15 an hour, so we did that to try to attract more candidates,” she said.
The district is hosting two job fairs next week for support positions where they can hire on the spot:
- Tuesday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mainland High School Gymnasium, located at 1255 W. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach
- Thursday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DeLand High School Auditorium, located at 800 N. Hill Avenue in DeLand