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W.Va. Education Association president calls teacher shortage ‘a crisis’

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W.Va. Education Association president calls teacher shortage ‘a crisis’
By Carrie Hodousek at MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teacher shortages across the state need to be addressed through higher pay, said the West Virginia Education Association’s president.

“We have a crisis in West Virginia,” Dale Lee told MetroNews “Talkline” as students returned to classes. “It’s simply that we don’t pay our teachers competitive salaries.”
Raleigh County schools began the school year Thursday with 50 teacher vacancies and other counties still have faculty positions unfilled.

“There’s more than 150 job openings listed on the state Department (of Education) website right now. That doesn’t include any at all in Raleigh County, so we know there’s 50 more there,” Lee said.

Retirements exacerbated the problem, and Lee said there aren’t enough new teaching graduates to fill those spots. “Our colleges are reporting fewer and fewer students are going into education programs.”

Fayette County faced more than 40 vacancies earlier this summer. Barbour County has two fifth-grade openings.

The school year already began for most counties this month. According to calendars provided to the state Board of Education, start dates for the 2015-2016 school year for the remaining counties are as follows:

Aug. 17: Berkeley, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Pocahontas, Wetzel and Wirt
Aug. 18: Hampshire
Aug. 19: Hancock and Monongalia
Aug. 20: Boone, Brooke, Clay, Grant, Hardy, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Mineral, Pendleton, Putnam, Webster
Aug. 21: Nicholas
Aug. 27: Marshall