Leon County Schools addresses staffing shortages ahead of first day of school
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon county schools is preparing for the start of the school year and is still in need of teachers and bus drivers.
The school board is saying however, that here’s no need to panic when it comes to a potential staffing shortage in classrooms.
The board, looking to address concerns at Tuesday’s school board meeting, as it was the last before the new year gets under-way in Leon County Wednesday.
While the first day of school brings excitement and a ton of anticipation, it also brings questions and concerns and Tuesday evening, the board heard from the public about them.
Less than 24 hours before the start of the school year, the school board addressed concerns about teacher shortages and how district leaders are working to fix it.
”We now have about thirty positions still to be filled but when you look at a district with over two thousand teachers, thirty is a manageable number right,” broke down Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “We will work hard to get those positions filled.”
Positions, the Leon Classrooms Teacher’s Association says are important to fill.
”So there’s a parent need, there’s a student need and nobody likes to have turnover in the school year,” said LCTA president Scott Mazur. “You have one teacher to start and then it turns over to another teacher so for continuity of instruction before the school year it’s always best to have those people in place at the beginning.”
Mazur says more needs to be done to get teachers to stick around.
”In Leon County Schools, you know we appreciate the platitudes, the thank-you’s but that doesn’t necessarily impact the classroom and we need actionable items that’s gonna get ahead and create reasonable class sizes and make sure that we have the resources that are available,” explained Mazur.
Superintendent Hanna says he is willing to work with the teacher’s association but feels their talks our at an impasse and wants to address the stigma that teachers aren’t valued.
”I can assure for our teachers out there that what they are hearing from a very few members of their union that are running the show right now, I have the utmost respect for school teachers,” exclaimed Hanna.
Hanna denying accusations that students are leaving the school district as he says LCS has seen an increase in enrollment.
”Over the last several weeks our enrollment has increase significantly. People are leaving charter schools, leaving private schools, leaving home school and coming back to our traditional power school’s system, which is very exciting,” shared Hanna.
Both sides say they’re determined to move forward and start the school year off with a bang.
”The best thing for us to do right now is write the narrative out there, make sure we share what’s going on right in our schools and support those who are supporting our students,” Mazur said.
Teaching positions are not the only ones the district is looking to fill as they’re still looking for as many as 20 bus drivers to work their routes.
Other comments at Wednesday’s meeting included Mom’s for Liberty addressing the board about parents rights and how some say they feel alienated and targeted. The board says however, that they want parents to always be involved and that they have their best interests in mind.
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