More than 500 teaching positions vacant in S.C. at beginning of 2019-2020 school year

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – New statewide data shows hundreds of classrooms are lacking teachers, often in core subjects. 

In a report released this week by the state’s Department of Education, South Carolina districts reported 555.5 teaching positions (in FTEs) vacant at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Thousands of teachers left their positions at the end of 2018-19 school year.

You can find the full report here: https://www.cerra.org/uploads/1/7/6/8/17684955/2019-20_supply_demand_report.pdf

The News 2 investigators examined how many Lowcountry classrooms are going without a proper teacher right now.

In Charleston County, there are 65 open teacher spots across the school district. Some of the open positions include the spots that need to be filled at Lucy Beckham High School, which is expected to open next year.

In Berkeley County, there are approximately 36 teacher vacancies, including in science, math, and English classrooms.  

There are eight open teacher positions in Dorchester School District 2. The vacancies include a spot in both high school math and middle school English.

In Colleton County, 10 teacher positions are currently being covered by non-certified, long-term substitutes. The most open positions are in elementary schools in the district.

In Georgetown County, the district reports two open teacher positions. Those spots are for ROTC and PE.  

“It is important to note that we have certified teachers filling all of the vacancies – meaning many of our school administrators and central office employees have been teaching,” a Berkeley County School District spokesperson told News 2. He added there are, “possibly less, as we just had a recruitment event aimed at filling some of those vacancies at the start of the new year.”

Dorchester County also recently held a hiring event to fill a variety of positions within DD2.

In a report released this week by the state’s Department of Education, South Carolina districts reported 555.5 teaching positions (in FTEs) still vacant at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Compared to last year, this number signifies an 11% decrease.

One of the impacts on the teaching shortage is that many first-year teachers don’t return to the profession. A closer look at first-year teachers revealed more than a quarter, 28%, didn’t return for a second year. However, the bright spot is that the attrition is down from 34% who didn’t return the previous year.

Some 6,650 teachers (in FTEs) left their position during or at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

Governor Henry McMaster on Tuesday announced additional investments in education.

“We have a lot of great people who want to go into one of the best fields which is teaching. They don’t want to do it for the money, but they can’t do it without the money. So, we’re fixing that now,” he said.

Gov. McMaster is committing $211 million in his executive budget to give all teachers a $3,000 raise. It’s an investment the General Assembly says is needed to attract and keep teachers in the classroom. More than 7,000 teachers did not return to their positions in the state this school year.

Molly Spearman, the state Superintendent of Education, outlined the potential impact of the governor’s proposed raise.

“With this, I bet we’ll start hearing young people say I want to be a teacher and parents won’t talk them out of it. They won’t say you can make more money doing something else,” she said of the announced raises.

The governor’s proposal would boost the average teacher salary to about $52,000, placing it $2,500 above the southeastern average by about $2,500.

The report released this week showed some promise in the interest in education as a career. The number of SC students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification eligibility during 2018-19 (1,752) is up by 79 graduates from the previous academic year (1,673). This is the first annual increase since 2013-14.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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