Duval teachers: Hiring shortage remains, despite progress

The Duval County School District has 118 teacher positions to fill... just over a week before school starts.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Duval County School District has 174 positions to fill just over a week before school starts.

Duval County teachers jammed inside the Teacher Supply Depot Friday morning, the first of the monthly events meant to give teachers free supplies they need during the school year.

While Public School Number Ten, the home of the free supply giveaway, was packed to the brim, staffing at the district itself is not.

"We have a hard time keeping teachers," said Wolfson biology teacher Rashara Dubose.

Dubose is one of several educators who told First Coast News the district, as a whole, needs more teachers.

"We have teachers, we just don't have nearly enough, so sometimes it's a struggle with class sizes and things of that nature," Dubose said.

S.A. Hull Elementary teacher Markecha Bibbins agrees.

"That does have an impact on the schools, especially the kids, because there's no teachers to teach them," Bibbins said.

According to Duval Schools, 118 of those 174 openings are from teachers who were fired for either not pursuing a teaching certificate this year or for not completing it. This year's number is an improvement over last year at this time, when openings within the district of more than 8,000 teachers was more than twice as high, at 316. 

A Duval Schools spokesperson said the district is working actively with school principals to fill the vacancies. Right now, positions are 98 percent filled.

Compared to Duval, St. Johns County Schools has 61 vacancies and roughly 2,500 teachers.

While Dubose would like to see more teachers, she recognizes the work the district's made to hire.

"Class sizes have gone down. I've seen a lot of administration go out and work to go find teachers that are certified and able to work with students," Dubose said.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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