Volusia schools in ‘crisis mode’ as staffing levels decline

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — For many school districts across Florida the story is the same; a shortage of teachers has several districts in crisis mode.

Volusia United Educators president Elizabeth Albert says Volusia County schools are falling short when it comes to staffing and the pandemic has only made it worse.

“The folks we have in place, they are getting sick and they have to go home and rest and quarantine, but we don’t have substitutes to put in their place,” Albert said

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Union leaders say burnout, low pay, lack of respect and community support have led some teachers to retire early or seek new careers.

“It’s just becoming harder every single day for people to stay in this calling because it really is a calling,” Albert said.

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According to the district, there are currently around 100 job openings district-wide.

Volusia Schools Superintendent Scott Fritz said in an effort to attract applicants, the district has increased pay for substitutes from $10 an hour to $13.50, in addition to actively recruiting college graduates.

“There is hope and there is certainly, on my end, people who want to do this profession,” Fritz said.

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In the meantime, the district will continue to use administrators to fill empty spots.

A list of current openings with Volusia County Schools can be found here.

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Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.