Tampa Bay school districts still need hundreds of teachers

Local shortages of teachers

With the start of school just days away, districts in the Tampa Bay area still need to hire hundreds of teachers.

In Polk, the district has already hired more than 750 teachers for this school year, but it still has 111 vacancies.

“It’s not ideal, but it’s something we are used to facing at this point,” Teddra Porteous, assistant superintendent of Human Resources in Polk County, said.

With 205 openings, Hillsborough County schools are in need of the most teachers. Pasco County schools still need 128 teachers. Hernando, Citrus and Sarasota County schools are also hiring. The Pinellas County School District has only seven vacancies.

Porteous explained there aren’t enough young people going into teaching.

“You have 67 public school districts in Florida, so we're all competing for that same small group of students that are graduating from Florida universities and colleges,” she said.

The district is hoping to keep as many of its new hires as possible for a long period of time. To do that, it's pairing them with more experienced teachers at their schools, connecting them to their community and offering mortgage and loan assistance.

The Polk County School District admits it won't have all 111 teachers hired and trained by the start of school Thursday. Students will have substitutes until the district gets full-time teachers ready to replace them.

 

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