Suncoast school districts still looking for teachers as start of semester nears

The school year in both Manatee and Sarasota counties begin Aug.10
The school year in both Manatee and Sarasota counties begin Aug.10(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - With schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties starting in a week, school officials say even though they’re still looking for teachers, classrooms will be covered when the first bell rings Aug. 10.

Florida’s teachers union, the Florida Education Association, estimated in April there were 9,000 projected teacher vacancies statewide, and more than 5,000 vacancies for support staff.

Sarasota County schools are still looking to fill 77 teaching positions and 87 support staff positions, spokeswoman Kelsey Whealy said. “Classes will be covered on the first day of school. If not by the teacher of record for that class, then by a short-term sub, long-term sub, school-based administrator or district administrator.”

She said the school district usually sees the most vacancies among ESE (Exceptional Student Education) positions at a variety of age levels, and highly specialized subject areas like math and science courses.

Things are slightly better in Manatee County, with 50 teaching positions still open. “We feel pretty good about where we’re at,” said Mike Barber, communications director of the Manatee County School District. He noted staffing levels are changing hourly. “We’ll have our classrooms covered.”

Wheley said they have had success at recent job fairs, with 42 teachers hired in April and 25 employees hired in June.

She said “mini fairs” are also scheduled at back-to-school events at various schools between now and the end of September.

Information about salary, benefits and position can be found on both the Sarasota County and Manatee County websites.

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