School year begins with nearly 400 teaching vacancies in North Carolina’s main district

Nearly 400 teaching positions remain open as students return to Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina on Monday.

In addition to the 390 teaching positions that remain vacant, there are another 38 vacancies for bus drivers, according to a district spokesperson.

The shortage affects the second-largest school district in the state, with more than 140,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to the district.

To make up for the shortage, 427 “guest teachers” will be teaching beginning Monday at the district’s 181 campuses, a CMS spokesperson told ABC News.

Although all visiting teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, they are not required to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, CMS officials said.

PHOTO: In this April 21, 2020, file photo, parked school buses sit in a lot in Charlotte, North Carolina

In this April 21, 2020, file photo, parked school buses sit on a lot in Charlotte, North Carolina

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, FILE

Visiting teachers will earn between $150 and $180 a day, depending on their level of certification, according to Christine Pejot, the district’s director of human resources.

According to Pejot, guest teachers differ from substitute teachers because they are assigned to a specific school and are on full-time contracts with benefits included.

Guest teachers don’t need to have a teaching certificate, Pejot said. Instead, the role requires a license granted by the state by passing certain tests to obtain a license in this teaching field.

However, while full certification is not required to be a visiting teacher, many of the district’s newest visiting teachers have already earned the certification necessary to be permanent full-time teachers, Pejot said.

Pejot said COVID-19 relief funds issued to the district are funding the new positions and funding is available through 2024.

PHOTO: In this file photo from Dec. 3, 2018, shows a teacher speaking to her English One students in class at Hopewell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina

In this file photo from Dec. 3, 2018, shows a teacher speaking to her English One students in class at Hopewell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

John D. Simmons/The Charlotte Observer via AP, FILE

No particular school has been affected by the teacher shortage, Pejot said, because all campuses are experiencing vacancies. However, Pejot said the district is seeing the most vacancies for special education teachers and elementary grades K-6 teachers.

Pejot told ABC News the changes in teachers available this year were alarming. With the district already experiencing a shortage, 77 additional teachers quit when they returned to the district in mid-August, Pejot said.

According to Pejot, there are fewer students pursuing studies as a major, and more existing teachers are choosing a different career and leaving the field. The combination of these factors is significant, Pejot said.

It’s unclear how long into the school year the district will rely on visiting teachers.

Leave a Reply