Wake Schools still short 100 teachers as school begins Monday

Teacher in classroom

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite starting the upcoming traditional-calendar school year with nearly 700 new teachers, Wake County Public Schools has dozens of teacher positions let to fill.

Wake County school officials said Friday some classes will start the traditional school year with substitutes or principals covering classes.

There are 100 vacant teacher positions in Wake County. While that number is higher than last year, the system said 99 percent of its positions are filled and the recruiting process is ongoing.

“We start with substitutes or our principals. They are really resilient at finding ways to optimize staffing to make sure every student has a qualified teacher in their room, so be it a substitute or someone who is doing a variety of roles in those schools,” said Raushawna Price, director of Recruitment and Retention.

Teacher pay has been a hot topic in North Carolina, and outside districts such as Houston have come to North Carolina to recruit teachers away from the state.

Another key topic and concern for schools is the status of teacher assistants.

Wake Schools officials also said 2,200 teacher assistants will start Monday, but the future of funding for teacher assistants is uncertain.

On Monday, Wake County Public School Superintendent Jim Merrill said other counties are also dealing with a teacher shortage.

“I talked to my colleagues around the state; we are all opening the same way. We all have shortages. A lot of us are recruiting from each other which makes no sense, but we will knock it down; we will fill these, so we’ll get there,” Merrill said.

The North Carolina Senate has proposed cutting funding for the TAs, while the House budget includes funding for teacher assistants.

General Assembly leaders have not yet decided on a final budget.

WCPSS said it was fully staffed with bus drivers.

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