CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – As some students return to school this week, educators fear the number of teacher vacancies across the state will create an injustice for students this year.
The majority of those shortages are in rural areas including, Anson County. However, teacher shortages are also happening within CMS schools as well.
Parents teachers and administrators with the North Carolina Association for Educators are raising concerns about it. They say classrooms will be overcrowded and some could go from having 25 students to 35 students.
Aaron Demand has three children who won’t have a teacher when classes start at CMS Wednesday.
“Their classes will be covered by teacher assistants, substitutes, and staff who are taking on additional responsibilities,” Demand said.
John George is an administrator for CMS. Right now, the district is short more than 120 teachers, down more than 40 bus drivers, and needs at least 40 nurses before school starts.
He says it’s because legislatures are not paying educators enough statewide along with neighboring districts and charter schools having competitive benefits and pay.
“Right now, it’s hard to live, eat, work, and provide for if you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and how much more should we provide for our teachers that come into it each and every day, and ask for nothing in return, but just respect,” George said. “We’re just asking for those same rules, that same flexibility the same way what pays so we can offer those kinds of sign-on bonuses, so we can get the best teachers in every classroom.”
Rayleigh Grown is the vice president of the group and says a new teacher starting today would max out at $52,000 a year after putting in 25 years of service. She worries about losing healthcare benefits and the lack of funds to help keep and recruit new teachers.
Right now, she says there’s a 35 percent dip in interest.
“Our public colleges or private colleges, they are closing education programs, because they have such low enrollment.” Grown said.
The state is predicting a budget surplus of about 6.5 billion dollars. From that, educators say lawmakers could give some of that money to them.
“Until our legislature stops underfunding our schools and starts treating public school employees like professionals, educators will continue to leave the profession or leave the state,” Demand said.
Right now, House lawmakers are proposing giving teachers raises of an average of about 4 percent the first year and a combined 5 percent over the next two years. That discussion continues in Raleigh.