No permanent teacher on the first day

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MANATEE COUNTY FL,--- No permanent teacher on the first day.  That's what Manatee County parents say they are worried about and this is not the first time the issue has been a concern.

"Last year we had the same situation happen, our second grader was assigned to a classroom without a permanent teacher," said Melissa Stochl. 

After 3 weeks with a substitute teacher and no progress, Stochl decided to transfer her son to another school, but she says the other 17 children in the class weren't that lucky.

"His particular class did not receive a permanent teacher until the 10th week of school year. That's unexceptable! added Stochl.

Without a permanent teacher Stochl and several concerned parents believe that a student's progress can be delayed.  And come August 19th they're worried they will have to deal with the situation once more.

"There are about 50 to 60 percent of the elementary schools that are lacking teachers.  Without a teacher in the classroom all you have is a room full of kids, " added Stochl. 

Manatee County Education Association official Pat Barber say the district is in the process of identifying which positions are open and rehiring teachers who were released at the end of last school year.

"The process of identifying vacancies have been more slow, which I think is because the district is being a lot more careful about filling positions," added Barber.

She says that caution is the result of the district's budget constraints.

Barber adds many of those positions wont be finalized until after school starts. "The deadline for recalls is after the 10 day count.  We always open up positions because more students may show up so once the 10 day count is over that window will closed."

In a phone conversation deputy superintendent Dr. Diana Green said placing teachers after the ten day count is normal process. In addition she says the district's goal is to have current vacant positions filled by the end of next week.  But parents say all students deserve a permanent teacher on the first day of classes.

"I want to know if it was your 5 year old the was starting kindergarten and they didn't have a teacher, is this the best you can do. I think not.  Nobody want that for their child", said Stochl. 

There is positive side to the districts current openings.  They they have already rehired about 90 of the 180 teachers who's contracts were not renewed last school year.