With the start of school less than a month away, the Warren County School System has about 10 teaching positions to fill.
Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows provided that update Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Warren County Board of Education.
“Rutherford County is lacking about 60 certified teachers right now. Metro Nashville is lacking 200 and we are lacking less than 10 so I feel at least encouraged about that,” said Swallows. “No building has more than five openings. We still have some buildings that have certified openings and classified openings.”
Swallows said with the exception of Van Buren County, which is a small school system, everyone in the Upper Cumberland region is looking for teachers.
“One of the things that used to be said about teaching is teachers love to do what they do and they have their summers to kind of recoup, but I’m telling you we ask so much of our teachers,” said Swallows. “Everybody is working in the summer now and it’s really burning some people out. If you think about it, the last two years we’ve gone straight from school and to acceleration academy for four weeks and then you get the holiday weekend and a lot of times we start PD (professional development) after that so it carries over.”
Swallows also emphasized, “We have to stop downgrading the profession,” a reference to a negative statement about teachers coming from state government.
Swallows said custodians are badly needed along with food service workers. He said those jobs are difficult to fill because of low pay.
As for substitute teachers, Swallows said 88 applications have been received over the past three weeks. The pay for a non-certified sub is increasing this year from $60 to $73. The pay for a certified sub is increasing from $70 to $83.
The school system now hires and manages its own substitutes with former Eastside bookkeeper Chelsea Crisp now handling that responsibility.
“The pay increase for subs takes us up from the bottom of the Upper Cumberland to, not the top, but we’re at the top,” said Swallows.