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W.Va. school officials hope law lessens teacher shortage

May 03, 2001

W.Va. school officials hope law lessens teacher shortage



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


County school officials hope a new state law allowing retired teachers to nearly double their substitute teaching hours will help alleviate a shortage of substitute teachers.

In many cases, retired teachers are interested in teaching again, said Jefferson County Board of Education member Pete Dougherty. But up until now, retired teachers were able to teach only 100 hours a year, Dougherty said.

Under the bill passed by the Legislature, retired teachers will now be able to teach close to 200 hours a year, which is roughly full time, Dougherty said.

Jefferson County's substitute teacher list used to contain about 100 names, but the pool is down to about 60, Dougherty said. Sometimes, the pool of substitute teachers is not enough to cover classrooms when teachers are needed, Dougherty said.

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Berkeley County School officials are aware of the new legislation and will likely carry out a policy to implement it, said Bill Sonnik, member of the Berkeley County Board of Education.

Maryland has a law similar to that passed by West Virginia's Legislature, Dougherty said.

School districts have been struggling with a shortage of regular teachers and substitute teachers. Low salaries and competition from other types of employers are to blame, educators said.

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