WCPSS faces 100 open teaching positions, bus issues

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Monday marks the first day of school for students across North Carolina. And for the nation's 16th largest school district, Wake County schools, bussing is usually the biggest issue.

"I just decided to take the next two or three days off to make sure we get in sync," said Timothy Hankins, a Wake County dad.

Hankins said he's learned over the past few years that it can take a while to smooth out any bus issues.

"When you're in one of the most populous areas you have to be ready for stuff like this," he explained.

He's ready for bus issues, while fellow parent, Angela Cokley is ready to jump in the classroom.

"Going to have step up and volunteer," said Cokely as she thinks about how more than 8,500 teaching assistant jobs could be eliminated under one version of the state's proposed budget.

"Especially when we can obviously see the teacher-student ratio in the class, teachers are overwhelmed," said Angela.

Edward and Angela Cokley (front) enjoy a picnic before Back to School

Wake County Schools will also start the new year with 100 open teaching positions.

District leaders say any classroom without a teacher will instead have a substitute teacher or the principal will work something out with the school's staff.

This gap in teacher staffing comes after a summer of trying to gauge how lawmakers will fund the district when it comes to teacher pay.

Teacher pay is something Governor Pat McCrory addressed in a back to school welcome message online.

"I want to let you know I'm doing my best, working very, very hard with the legislature to continue the pay raises," said Governor McCrory. "We've committed to spending over $1 billion in teacher salaries during the next fiscal year."

Wake County isn't alone in this, school districts across the state are making due with the staff they have as they prepare for the first day of school.

"We have 50 teacher vacancies at this time," said Tracey Peedin Jones, spokesperson for Johnston County Schools. "We are prepared for these open positions to be filled with certified substitutes and retired teachers."

Peedin also said Johnston County Schools will hold a Lateral Entry Job Fair on September 3rd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Selma Elementary's auditorium.

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