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Area schools looking to fill last vacancies

July 30, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - With less than a month until students return to public schools in Washington County, officials say they continue to recruit and hire teachers.

Donna Newcomer, assistant director of human resources, said 130 new teachers have been hired since March.

She estimates that 50 positions still need to be filled.

"We generally average anywhere between 150 to 250 vacancies each year," Newcomer said. "Some of them are as a result of resignations, some are retirements and some are because of leaves of absences."

She said about 55 vacancies this year are due to retirements, and another 144 resignations have been documented since November.

Newcomer said that when school begins in Washington County, there will likely be a handful of vacancies remaining in hard-to-fill areas. These include speech therapy, math, science, special education, English and foreign languages.

"These are critical shortage areas," she said. "Everyone is vying for the same folks at that point. Sometimes the best salary wins and sometimes folks are hoping to live in (a particular place)."

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Starting salary for a new Washington County Public Schools teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience is $41,962, Newcomer said.

The cost of housing might also factor into a teacher's decision to move to a particular school system.

Washington County Public Schools hired a full-time recruiter this year, specifically to recruit new teachers.

Newcomer said that recruiting coordinator Lori White contacts colleges and works with recruiting journals and online resources to recruit quality teachers. The majority of recruitment fairs and college visits occur in January and February.

Many of the new teachers being hired in Washington County are local, Newcomer said. The majority come from neighboring school systems in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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