ATLANTA — Several metro Atlanta school districts are struggling to fill a teacher shortage as the clock ticks down toward the first day of class.
On Saturday, Clayton County school administrators will hold a job fair in hopes of attracting new teachers. The district is currently short more than 400 educators. Orientation for new teachers will be held on Monday.
The county’s Director of Human Resources says there aren’t enough applicants to fill all of the empty spots.
“I think the pandemic has had an impact on it,” said Alisha Albritten. “I think a lack of interest in becoming an educator - we read often that college education programs, their enrollment has declined dramatically, so there aren’t enough potential educators.”
Clayton County started last year with a shortage, although not as challenging as this year. Parent Latisha Rivers says her son Jaden spent a confusing year in kindergarten changing classrooms three different times as administrators struggled to fill openings well into the year
“He thought he was being disciplined, so we had to explain that new teachers were coming,” said Rivers.
The principal at Jonesboro Middle School has a plan just in case all of her empty slots are not filled.
She has substitutes on stand by.
“They were in our school this past school year and made it known prior to leaving that they were willing to come back,” said Principal Kimiberlee Barnett.
Other school districts are facing similar issues. The city of Atlanta is short 114 teachers. Dekalb is 350 short. Gwinnett is looking for 252 teachers while Fulton County’s shortage is 246.
Administrators are offering incentives to draw new employees.
In Clayton County, there’s a $3,000 bonus for much needed special ed teachers and a $2,000 bonus for special ed ParaPros.
Albritten says Clayton County will continue to fill empty spots throughout the year.
The county’s job fair is Saturday from 9am-noon at Munday’s Mill High School. Click here for details.