by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:
A shortage of teacher applicants is happening in one of the fastest growing counties.
Some parents are worried the St. Johns County School District district could lose their A-rating if it can’t keep up with the growth.
By next school year, the district is aiming to hire about 150 teachers, but applications for specialized teaching positions are in the single digits.
"We need to be able to keep up with the growth and keep our school district the No. 1 in the state," parent Jennifer Tate said.
St. Johns County is growing rapidly with more than 3,000 new students enrolling with the district in just two school years.
"We’ve been in this continual growth mode as a school district," Superintendent Tim Forson said.
With more than a thousand new students each year, the district is trying to hire additional teachers to accommodate the surge.
"I am a little more concerned than in the past. We are starting to see it become a gradual issue each and every year as we move forward," Forson said.
Tate has two kids at St. Johns County schools.
"My oldest is at Bartram Trail and I know that they are busting at the seams,” Tate said.
And right now, Forson said there is a need for teachers who specialize in subjects such as science, math and chemistry since fewer people are applying for those positions.
In just two school years, more than 3,000 new students enrolled with the St. Johns Co school district. Talk about growth! @ActionNewsJax— Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) April 20, 2017
"I would think that they would get more qualified teachers out there to our schools because that's why we moved to this area," parent Monica Zangerle said.
Forson said he thinks the shortage is caused by less students going into the teaching field in college.
"I think just the general feel about being a teacher and some of the criticism that has been passed on to public education," Forson said.
And Tate said she’s worried about what could happen if they can’t keep up with the growth.
“If we can't keep up with the growth, then we're not going be the ‘A’ school district anymore," Tate said.
A spokesperson for the Clay County school district said they aren’t seeing a shortage and have about 70 positions available.
And in Duval County, the district recently implemented an initiative to recruit teachers to their district.
The school district needs to hire about 150 teachers by this school year & they are in need of specialized teaching positions @ActionNewsJax— Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) April 20, 2017
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