CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The number of job openings at Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools is shocking to parents and teachers.
As of Tuesday, the district had 1,122 teaching positions. They say about 440 of them are specifically for teaching positions, and the rest for other teaching jobs like media coordinators and school counselors.
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Leslie Neilsen has been teaching CMS for 12 years, and she says she has never seen so many openings. The district says 875 teachers have left since the start of this school year.
“People are retiring in record numbers, and people are looking elsewhere because with today’s economy the job market is wide open and people are realizing that you can get paid a lot more,” Neilsen said.
If these vacancies are not filled, teachers often have to take additional courses, forcing them to work longer hours.
“It’s really starting to wear down. And you start thinking, ‘why am I putting myself through this?’ said Neilsen.
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The problem isn’t just that teachers are leaving, it’s that it takes a long time for new teachers to be hired. Neilsen says the district’s human resources team is understaffed and on standby, which means it can take weeks to push through new hires.
“I work with several teachers…who were really frustrated with the whole process. Or they got their offers, but it took weeks and weeks to even get the paperwork through,” she said.
In order to retain and attract more teachers, CMS has proposed a $40.4 million increase in the upcoming Mecklenburg County budget. More than half of this sum would be devoted to investments in employment. Mecklenburg County, however, recommends that the district receive less than half ($19.9 million).
“Teachers are reviled like we’ve never seen before, and yet we keep showing off,” Neilsen said.