COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- School districts are racing against the clock to fill teacher vacancies before school starts and data from SCforED, the large grassroots teacher organization here in the state, hundreds of teachers are still needed.
There are more than 1000 teacher vacancies in the state right now. That’s almost double the number of vacancies the state saw going into the 2019-2020 school year.
Before the coronavirus, the state was facing a teacher shortage. “It results in large class sizes. they have to double classes,” said Jennifer Garrett with the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement.
More than 6,000 teachers left their positions at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Garrett continued, “Some of the reasons are not all bad, not all negative, but some of them are leaving because they don’t feel supported.”
This school year, even more educators are expected to leave the classroom because of COVID-19.
Lisa Ellis, one of the founding board members of SCforED explained, “They were concerned about class sizes and spending their own money, now teachers are concerned about their physical being, which adds another layer is this job really worth me coming back for.”
SCforED has been watching the vacancies in school districts across the state.
As of the week of 8/1, 1100 positions still need to be filled.
Ellis added, “If districts are forcing students and teachers to go back into a school building, but they’re supposed to be practicing social distancing that really changes the numbers inside of a classroom.”
The exact number of teacher vacancies won’t be available until the school year starts for all districts, but researchers are preparing for COVID-19’s impact.
“There’s no way, we’re going to see fewer departures, fewer vacancies, there’s no way we’re going to see that. we’re not coming out of this unaffected,” said Garrett.
In the weeks leading up to the 2019-2020 school year there were about 550 teacher vacancies in the state.
According to that data, in Greenville county schools, there are 11 vacancies.
Spartanburg school districts 1 & 2 each have 10 vacancies.
Anderson school district 1 has 4 vacancies.