Local school districts say recruiting teachers is getting harder

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Finding teachers can be a challenge for local school systems.

"I think in general there are fewer students coming out of colleges and universities to be a teacher," said Roanoke City's Human Resources Director Sandra Burks.

The Roanoke City School Board recently approved $1.25 million for teacher compensation to give raises to teachers who have been with the school district for 6-20 years but recruiting new teachers is getting harder.

Looking at the numbers more than 10-percent of Roanoke City teachers are new this year. 129 new teachers out of 1072 total teachers but Burks says that number is pretty typical every year.

Lynchburg's percentage is higher at more than 14 percent.  108 new teachers out of 750 total.

"I think what has become increasingly difficult is identifying teacher candidates. For the first time it's been more difficult to staff are elementary positions. In the past we would probably have 3 to 4 applicants for every vacancy and I really noticed a change in that this year," said Burks.

Roanoke hired 22 elementary teachers before March 1 not knowing the number of openings because they were anticipating the need.   A week before school started in Lynchburg they still had about ten positions to fill.  Lynchburg says English has been difficult for many divisions this year and Math and Science remain high need areas for everyone.

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