Teacher salaries in Georgia are on average about $4,000 more a year than in the state of Florida. Even so, school officials in Leon County say this year they had more applicants than vacancies.
There aren't as many teachers heading across the border this year as in years past. Leon County school officials say that's true for their county, but districts in surrounding counties in Florida may not be so lucky.
For years, teachers in north Florida say their districts have been hit hard by the higher salaries being offered in Georgia.
Susan Womble, a teacher in Leon County, says, "I work with groups of beginning teachers and at one point we lost a lot of teachers because the border towns are only 30 minutes away and they can make that much more going up there."
But this year Leon County school officials say they've seen a turnaround. With several major universities here in Leon County, school officials here say they're better off than districts in surrounding counties as far as teacher shortages go.
Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools, says, "We're blessed in this community to have Florida State, Florida A&M and now Flagler College, so we have a lot of applicants, which is unusual."
Leon County school officials say another reason teachers may be sticking around is the larger pay increases each year.
Montford adds, "Beginning salaries, for example, may be higher in Georgia, but if you look at the increase in salaries from year to year and you look at the top-end salary, you'll find Florida is very competitive in salaries with Georgia."
Leon County officials say this year they've had more applicants than vacancies and they hope this trend will spread throughout the state.
The American Federation of Teachers has ranked Florida 29th in the nation for average teacher salary. Georgia comes in at number 16.
There are always some teacher positions that are more difficult to fill. Leon County educators say math and science teacher positions are always hard to fill because there are jobs in those fields that pay so much more.
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