School systems scramble to fill hundreds of positions as teachers leave industry

ByJamiese Price via WTVD logo
Monday, July 18, 2022
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Teacher turnover is happening across North Carolina and that's leading to a shortage of educators.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Teacher turnover is happening across North Carolina and that's leading to a shortage of educators.

A survey published by the Department of Public Instruction revealed that 7% of teachers surveyed would leave the education profession entirely.

Long-time Durham teacher Turquoise LeJeune Parker said pay, stress, and COVID demands are some of the factors that pushed educators out of the classroom.

"We're talking about educators who are desperately, mentally, physically, spiritually, they're, they're depleted," Parker said.

School districts are racing to fill the hundreds of vacancies.

The Cumberland County Public School System has 150 teacher openings. At the start of July, Wake County Public Schools had 439 teacher vacancies.

Durham Public Schools has about 220 open teaching positions.

"We know that the last couple of years of the pandemic, teaching was hard and we also know that the teaching profession is under a lot of pressure right now," said Durham Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Chip Sudderth.

As an incentive to attract new teachers, Durham Public Schools is offering signing bonuses for hard-to-fill positions.

"We are also offering bonuses to all of our employees who are with us this October, as well as certain signing bonuses for teachers and hard-to-staff positions or in schools where there's a significant need," Sudderth said.

In Wake County, a district spokesperson said the district is preparing to launch a new recruitment campaign that will include more advertising and a new website.