Despite hiring 260 new teachers this summer, Marion County School District has 96 unfilled teaching positions.
The first day of class is Wednesday.
The teacher shortage is a statewide problem, as cuts to education funding during the past 10 years thinned the number of positions.
“Now that districts have a little bit more money,” district spokesman Kevin Christian said, “we are finding it’s difficult to fill all the openings we have. That’s not just in Marion County, but statewide.”
Some positions are new, while others opened after teacher retirements or relocations to other districts.
“We’re always looking for great teachers in all subjects, but particularly right now we’re looking for certified teachers at the elementary level,” who generally teach all subjects, Christian said.
High school math and science teachers seem particularly difficult to come by, he said. There’s an urgency to filling the jobs, but also a backup plan.
“We’d like to have all the positions filled by yesterday,” Christian said. “We’re certainly hoping to have them all filled by end of week. If not, we have long-term substitutes who are familiar with those schools.”