Pool of teachers drying up

November 05, 1997


Staff Writer

HANCOCK - The number of teachers submitting job applications for Washington County schools dropped by about 400 this year, and officials say that can be partly attributed to the district's low starting teacher salary.

Washington County's salary for beginning teachers is $25,075, ranking the county 21st in the state, said Donna Newcomer-Coble, supervisor of Human Resources and Teacher Personnel.

"I do think that has some influence. Obviously, they're looking where they will make the most money," Newcomber-Coble told the Washington County Board of Education, which met Tuesday at Hancock Middle-Senior High School.


The school board, on the other hand, began looking at the school's recruiting efforts.

The school system sends recruiters as far away as Pittsburgh every year to lure college graduates to Washington County. Two members of the school board requested a report Tuesday on how much the school system spends each year to recruit teachers.

Board of Education President B. Marie Byers said she wants to know how effective the efforts have been. Byers also said school officials need to evaluate whether the district should travel out of town next year to recruit.

The number of applicants dropped even though school officials increased the number of colleges and job fairs they visited this year from 14 to 16, according to Newcomer-Coble.

Total applications this year were 1,461, and the district hired 74 new teachers, said Newcomer-Coble. Of the new teachers, 55 had bachelor's degrees and 19 had master's degrees, said Newcomer-Coble.

Of about 62 minority applicants, about two were hired, said Newcomber-Coble.

Byers said she wants more minorities to be hired.

Board of Education member Doris J. Nipps said it is good to have a large pool of applicants because it allows officials to have a greater number of highly qualified candidates.

"When you're down 400 less applicants, you can get strapped" for qualified teachers, said Nipps.

Also facing the system is a "fairly heavy" number of employees who will be eligible for retirement soon, said acting Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

School administrators regularly visit local colleges like Frostburg State University, the University of Maryland, Shepherd College and Towson University to recruit teachers, said Linda Barkdoll, former interim superintendent who is working with Bartlett in his transition process.

Recruiters also usually attend the Pittsburgh Teachers Consortium, where different school districts come together to lure teachers to their counties, Barkdoll said.

"If we don't do those things, no one knows about us. We're not on the lists," said Barkdoll.

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