Recruiting Lee County teachers ahead of school year

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The School District of Lee County needs to hire more than 350 teachers before kids return to class on Aug. 10, and the push to recruit them is ramping up this week.

You can show up to get a job Monday at the Lee County Public Education Center, located at 2855 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.

Florida allows anyone with a college degree to go into the classroom while they work toward earning a teaching certificate.

The district said this is a recurring problem, and this teacher shortage has been an ongoing issue for all of Southwest Florida.

Lee County needs 362 teachers, Collier County needs 170 and Charlotte County needs 43.

When WINK News spoke with Rob Spicker, spokesman for the School District of Lee County, he said colleges are not producing enough teachers for all the openings available and also Florida is not the best place to be a teacher because of the salaries.

The starting teacher salary in Lee County schools is $48,250. It’s $50,000 in Collier County and $54,000 in Charlotte County.

WINK asked Spicker about the plan if the vacant Lee County positions are not filled.

“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,” Spicker said, “and then, step number two might be looking for substitutes and even long-term substitute teachers to fill those roles.”

Spicker said Lee County schools are doing everything possible to get teachers into their buildings.

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

If you are a teacher, LCSD needs all the help it can get. District staff will be at the Lee County Public Education Center from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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