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St. Johns County dealing with teacher shortage

District hiring 200 teachers for next school year

St. Johns County schools superintendent Tim Forson.
St. Johns County schools superintendent Tim Forson.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A teacher shortage has hit St. Johns County schools.

Despite the county’s good reputation and A-rating, even they are among those feeling it. The superintendent in St. Johns County said the shortage is due to several factors, he says because of the demands and low pay, many college graduates are being pushed away from the profession entirely. He said it’s up to districts to find solutions.

"Public education has taken a lot of criticism in the last eight to 10 years," said Tim Forson, St. Johns County superintendent, "so it's not as appealing probably as a young adult to go into the teaching profession. There are more expectations each and every year on teachers."

Forson says it’s happening all over the state, even in St. Johns County. St. Johns County will hire around 200 new teachers for the upcoming school year to fill retirement and resignation gaps. They are constantly growing so they need more teachers each year.

"We're starting to see the same concerns that other districts are having," Forson said. "It is especially important in those critical needs areas. Upper level sciences that are difficult to fill, and some of the special education positions that are challenging."

Studies show enrollment in education majors dropped 35 percent between 2009 and 2014. Despite the drop the expectations remain the same. In Clay County, there are 72 jobs posted for vacant positions next school year.

Duval County has a new initiative called “Ready, Set, Teach!” hoping to get at least 50 new teachers into elementary schools through the program. It’s an elementary school educator entrance program designed to help those with bachelor’s degrees not in the field of education become certified teachers. If you want to begin the process in Duval County you have to attend the information and screening session on May 5 at Duval County Public Schools.