Horry County schools pushing for full staff in the start of school year

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -  School is officially underway in Horry County yet your child's school is probably not yet fully staffed but Horry County schools leaders are adamant, it won't impact your child's learning.

School leaders say jobs are being filled every day and most positions are filled for this school year but there are still about a dozen available jobs in the district.  This is an improvement from last week, there were 36 vacancies in Horry County Schools.

The main reason there was such vacancies was because of receiving late resignations. In the future, if someone resigns after May, they won't be released from contract until they have a replacement.  The district says it's common to have difficulty filling positions in areas like math and science, which is also national issue.

The bottom line is, there is a need for teachers in our schools.  Horry County schools had more than 40,000 students last year and that number continues to climb. As more families come to our area, our schools are going to continue to grow and the need for teachers is going to be greater.

The big issue statewide is not just finding teachers, but giving them enough incentives to stay here. Simply put, the jobs are there, the money is not.

South Carolina public schools have about 4,000 teachers who leave the field each year  and new teachers only replace half that number.

Its an issue the state senate knows they need to tackle. A new senate committee on Public School Teachers is trying to encourage college graduates to work in our schools. To do that, The committee is considering increasing teacher's pay and strengthening student loan programs to encourage more students to become teachers in our state.

When you break down the numbers, teachers in South Carolina make more money, on average, than in North Carolina, but we still fall short other states, including Florida and Georgia. In fact our teachers start out making less than the national average of about $36 thousand dollars.

Horry County schools will continue to recruit nationwide and hold their annual job fair in March, but a major pull for the district is working with the local colleges.

It comes down to educators working together. Since most of the districts new hires last year came from CCU,  the university and the district hope to work to add up to the perfect equation for more teachers to our area.

CCU Dean of the College of Education Edward Jadallah says about half of the undergrad's in his program end up teaching in South Carolina. in order to get more to stay, he says, that's really in the hands of the state.

"Whether or not you have an effective teacher in that classroom makes a big difference. How do we attract effective teachers? We attract effective teachers into the profession by offering them an appropriate pay scale and appropriate benefits," said Jaddallah.

Coastal will promote their strengths: a newly designed literacy center, hands on experience for students in their first year of school and programs to keep kids up to speed with the digital learning initiative. The college of education also has a new online certificate program to educate existing teachers on that digital learning initiative in our schools.

Plus, the Horry County school district says they're recruiting 24/7 and are working to make sure next year, we start the school year fully staffed.

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