DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Just days away from the start of the traditional school 2022-23 year, Durham Public Schools (DPS) is still working to fill 141 teacher vacancies.
District officials said Thursday the teacher vacancies are across the board, but the district said the positions they need to fill the most are math and science teachers.
“Our human resources department is working very hard to ensure coverage for every classroom from the first day on,” said Crystal Kimpson Roberts, communications specialist for DPS.
To make sure the classes are covered by quality teachers, Roberts said retired teachers and certified staff will be covering the classes where there are teacher vacancies.
Roberts also said teacher assistants who are working on getting their certification will be filling in as well.\
But even with this help from retired teachers and certified staff, Roberts said some teachers will still have to teach more students, which means some class sizes will be larger.
“They are being compensated for that, because again, we want certified staff in front of our students,” Roberts said.
Roberts also said that there may be some classes that may not be taught virtually, rather than in person.
“The synchronous and asynchronous learning are something we had to become very good at during the pandemic,” Robert said. “When necessary, that will still occur, but that will not be the norm.”
Pamela Andrews taught for 30 years and retired from Durham Public Schools seven years ago.
This fall, she’ll be filling in as a second-grade teacher at Mangum Elementary School.
“You are kind of rusty a little bit, but you have to come back and jump in at full speed to take the kids where they are and hopefully move them forward,” Andrews said.
While Andrews is glad to step in and do this, she said she is limited on how much she can help.
That’s because state law limits how much retired teachers can make per year, or they lose their retirement and benefits.
Andrews said her salary cap is $37,240 per year. She said if she goes over that, she loses her retirements and benefits.
“You want to help, you want to be able to fill in those gaps, but you can’t go over that threshold,” Andrews said.
During a time where qualified teachers are needed, Andrews thinks the state should not limit how much retired teachers can make.
“I do think they should be compensated for their years of service and how much they have put into this career,” Andrews said.
Roberts said that all of Durham Public Schools’ bus routes are covered and there is no shortage of bus drivers his school year.
However, the district is still hiring bus drivers, teacher aides, and after school program workers.
To apply, click here.