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Duval County teachers may soon start at $48,700 as shortages continue

The president of the teacher's union says as of Wednesday, there were more than 300 openings.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools is still looking to fill hundreds of vacancies. The president of the teacher's union says as of Wednesday, there were more than 300 openings, which is down from 450 at the start of this year.

"It could be higher or lower on any given day," said Terrie Brady, President of Duval Teachers United.

Brady is hoping a tentative agreement with the district to raise teacher's starting pay from $47,500 to $48,700 shows the district is working to entice those looking to become teachers.

She's in favor of a referendum that would increase property taxes to help fund teacher raises. That vote is Aug. 23. 

"We just want people to value the educators that they have in their schools," Brady said.

The Florida Department of Education identified several subject areas where there are critical teacher shortages. You can read the report here. 

In an interview earlier this week, DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said the challenges aren't new, but noted there's more of a need now than when the pandemic started. 

RELATED: Struggling Duval County teachers share stories to raise awareness ahead of millage vote

"The pandemic, when it first hit, actually more teachers were staying in the profession, but as the pandemic carried on, that is when we started to see the vacancies started to grow," she told First Coast News. 

Brady says more incentives should also be offered within the various education programs at the state's private and public universities.  

She said two thousand students recently graduated from those programs across the state, but the state still remains in a deficit.

"That is not enough to even fill the vacancies in two counties in South Florida," said Brady.

On Friday, Jacksonville's Leadership Coalition is holding an 11 a.m. news conference outside DCPS to rally support for teachers. 

RELATED: DCPS superintendent says this year could start off with some 'challenges' but things will fall into place

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