50 teacher vacancies in Raleigh County as school year begins

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50 teacher vacancies in Raleigh County as school year begins
By Jeff Jenkins , MetroNews

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Raleigh County schools will begin the school year Thursday with 50 teacher vacancies, something county school board president Rick Snuffer describes as “a crisis.”

The county has been hit with a combination of teacher retirements and fewer teachers graduating from colleges and universities. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been listening, Snuffer said.

“We’ve been saying, ‘we’re going to have a shortage of teachers,'” Snuffer said. “It’s finally happened and I think it’s even worse next year.”

The shortages are across our areas from Science and Math to Phys. Ed. and elementary positions. Snuffer said Raleigh County even pays better than other counties but it can’t find the teachers.

“What we’re hearing from Concord, WVU and Marshall is that they’re not seeing a lot of enrollment in education (training). That’s where we need our feeder sources….but they’re not doing it,” Snuffer said.

Raleigh County plans to cover the 50 vacancies with a combination of substitute teachers and permit teachers, Snuffer said.

“We’ll do the best we can. We’ll have teachers in the classrooms but as far as having qualified teachers in each classroom–they are not there to be had,” he said.

Neighboring Fayette County has also had a problem recruiting teachers. It had more than 40 vacancies earlier this summer.