Hundreds show up at Clay County teacher job fair

District needs to fill 300 positions before the new school year starts

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Teachers looking for work gathered at Fleming Island High School Saturday for a recruitment fair, with all 42 schools in Clay County represented.

"I am currently going into my third year of teaching after this year," said applicant Elizabeth Lizalde, who hopes to get a job in Clay County. "This is the place I want to be."  

Some say it's tough to fill teacher positions due to salaries, which has led to a shortage of teachers.

"A starting teacher’s pay in Clay is $38,000, with no experience. Of course, Clay will reward up to 30 years of experience," said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Clay County School District,  David Broskie. "We wish our salaries were higher for teachers but I think everybody across the country would say that."

There are 2,700 teachers throughout Clay County. Broskie said they have the same starting salary as St. Johns County and the pay is competitive.

This past week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allows teachers to be armed but the chair of the Clay County School District, Carol Studdard, said the board disagrees with that position.

"We have said we do not favor for arming teachers. If there is a teacher out there that just has to be a guardian, they can go through the 144 hours of training and all the necessary steps, but we are not just going to go out and arm our teachers. We will have our own police department to enforce safety and try to keep our kids safe. I haven’t had a single teacher come up to me and say, 'I want to carry a gun,'" Studdard said.

The district was hoping to hire 100 of the 300 teachers needed on Saturday.

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