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More than 7,000 teaching positions remain open in Florida

There are currently 7,000 teaching and 5,000 support positions that still need to be filled in Florida.
There are currently 7,000 teaching and 5,000 support positions that still need to be filled in Florida.

There are thousands of teaching positions in Florida that still haven’t been filled despite the fact that most kids in the state went back to school this week.

There are currently 7,000 teaching positions that still need to be filled.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar, says that’s 900 more than the same time last year.

He said two things are making the statewide shortage worse: low teacher pay and new laws that took effect on July 1, limiting how and what teachers can teach.

“It’s easy but it’s hard to fix the teacher shortage problem," said Spar. "It’s easy in the sense that the first thing that can happen is the governor and his allies and lawmakers can stop vilifying teachers and can start lifting up teachers. They can allocate more resources towards our public schools.”

Spar said even his own family has suffered the consequences:

“I can talk about it from a very personal standpoint, my daughter is going into ninth grade in Volusia County, and her English teacher quit last week," said Spar. "So, she's going to start the year without an English teacher. This will be the third year in a row that my daughter has been missing one teacher, at least for part of the year.”

Here in Central Florida, Orange needs to fill 3 percent of its teaching positions.

In Brevard there are 90 vacancies, in Marion there are 150 vacancies, in Osceola there are 120 vacancies, in Volusia there are 107 vacancies, and in Seminole there are 76 vacancies.

Florida ranks 48th in the nation for teacher pay according to the National Education Association. Most teachers in the state make slightly more than $50,000 dollars a year.

The FEA says on top of teacher vacancies, districts throughout the state are looking for 5,000 more support staff to work in cafeterias, classrooms and on playgrounds.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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