Laura Francisco, associate superintendent of human resources, said the vacancy number reflects that CMS is 96% staffed for teacher positions going into this school year. The district saw 2,100 teacher separations since the beginning of the 2021-22 year.
“CMS is not immune to the national teacher shortage,” Francisco said. “We’ve developed and (are) implementing an array of strategies to try and offset that shortage.”
Francisco said 41 of the district’s 181 schools are fully staffed. Of the remaining schools, the average number of vacancies is three teachers.
“While we still need 377 teachers at this point to be fully staffed, there are teachers being put through the pipeline every day,” she said. “We are pushing (teachers) to schools as quickly as we can.”
CMS isn’t alone in North Carolina in dealing with teacher vacancies. Wake County Public Schools, the largest district in the state, had more than 700 teacher vacancies on Aug. 4. Guilford Public Schools, with a total enrollment of 73,000 students, has more than 150 teacher vacancies. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, with about 55,000 students, has 250 teacher vacancies. Cumberland County Schools, with about 52,000 students, had nearly 200 vacancies.
CMS, the second-largest district in the state, is whittling down the number of teacher vacancies. On Aug. 1, the number was 415.
“There’s a very shallow pool of teacher candidates not only in CMS, but across the state,” Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said. “Teacher education at the college level has declined dramatically in the last decade.”
CMS needs employees
The district held a recruiting fair for operational staff such as cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians and school crossing guards Aug. 3.
“We need the jobs filled in order for us to fulfill our mission and vision,” said Monique Jackson, an area transportation manager who organized the fair. “We have a severe need for custodians and other positions.”
Here’s a breakdown of other CMS vacancies as of Tuesday:
▪ 151: Teacher assistants.
▪ 41: Bus drivers. Not included in the number are 28 trainees who are working through the process now and should be hired by the end of August. An additional 29 people are in a bus class that began Monday.
▪ 100: Cafeteria workers
▪ More than 20: School crossing guards.
▪ 89: Guest teacher vacancies.
More numbers for the start of school
▪ 140,967: Projected K-12 enrollment. The official number won’t be until the 20-day count.
▪ 184: Number of countries students are from.
▪ 18,094: Number of employees of CMS. 9,048 are teachers.
▪ 11: Number of new Title I schools in CMS.
▪ 2: New schools – Mint Hill Elementary School and Palisades High School – opening this school year.
▪ 3: Replacement schools — West Charlotte High School, Shamrock Gardens and Lansdowne elementary schools —opening this school year.
▪ 1,020: Total active substitute teachers in pool.
▪ 300: Number of repair or replacement projects completed to facilities for opening day.
▪ 69: Number of Evolv body scanners installed or being installed in high schools (21) and K-8 and middle schools (48).