Osceola County school district faces teacher shortage before the school year begins

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — There is only one week left before the start of a new school year.

Channel 9 has reported on how the teacher shortage has impacted many school districts.

In Osceola County, Superintendent Debra Pace said the school district had to get creative on filling hundreds of vacancies.

There is a lot of excitement in the air with only eight days away but the school district has some uncertainty.

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“We’re short about 200 teachers,” Pace said. “And with a week to go, that is quite alarming.”

Looking for 200 teachers is just the beginning. Pace said the district is short on attendants, bus drivers and other staffers but the district has more than 300 openings.

“Staffing challenges remain our biggest obstacle, and it’s across the board and every position,” she said.

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That obstacle is the same in other school districts across Central Florida.

Orange, Polk and Volusia counties all have more than 300 vacancies online. Brevard County has more than a hundred vacancies.

Pace said low wages, job demands and the county’s population growth are responsible for all the openings. She is currently recruiting teachers from out of the country.

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“Right now, we have 18 new staff members coming to us from our EPI contract in Asia, and 24 coming to us from South America,” she said.

Pace said she understands that she won’t be able to fill all the positions by next week.

She is also considering increasing class sizes, hiring substitutes and asking faculty and staffers to work extra hours.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.