Teacher jobs need to be filled in SWFL before August 10

Author: HALEY ZARCONE Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Lee County is seeing many open teaching positions with only 20 days before the first bell rings.

All next week, the Lee County School District is inviting people interested in becoming teachers to the Public Education Center.

If you have a teaching certificate, that’s great, but if you’re a college graduate thinking of changing careers, there could be a job there too.

Aug. 10 is approaching, and that’s when parents will be sending their kids back to school. The question that’s left is will the schools have enough teachers for the students?

“We are in need of teachers,” said Rob Spicker, the Lee County Schools spokesperson.

Spicker confirmed the district needs 362 teachers before the opening bell rings. Spicker said it is a recurring problem, so Lee County schools has changed the way it recruits.

“Instead of a school year thing or a summer thing, it’s year-round for us now,” said Spicker. “Our recruitment department is busy all year, all around the country and internationally recruiting teachers trying to bring them to Lee County.”

It’s difficult hiring teachers because fewer people choose education as their major in college and also because of pay. It costs a lot to live in this area, and while that’s also true for other places, like the northeast for example, where teachers are paid substantially more.

Students may feel the impact if Lee County Schools can’t hire enough of the open positions.

“Each school develops their own plan on how they’re going to manage that. It usually starts with anybody that is certified that works in the building. They are going to be asked to cover classrooms,” said Spicker.

That would include administrators, assistant principals and others teaching classes.

The need spreads beyond Lee County. In Collier County, they need 170 teachers before Aug. 10, while in Charlotte County, they’re looking to hire 43 more teachers.

The starting salary in the Lee County School District is $48,250, while it’s $50,000 in Collier County, and Charlotte County schools pay $54,000.

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