- Teachers voice concerns over salaries and overcrowding in classrooms to school board members.
- Wakulla county school superintendent says they are working to fill teacher shortage
- The district plans on using a state Initiative which allows an experienced teacher to supervise larger classes in partnership with a student teacher who is working to get their teaching degree.
We're now hearing from school officials after parents and teachers voice concerns, I'm Kenzie Krueger in Crawfordville where teachers are also teacher voicing their concerns about this school year
Suzie McCord has been teaching in Wakulla County for 13 years. she says she and other educators like her can't afford to teach in Wakulla anymore—they simply don't get paid enough.
“It is incredibly demoralizing to return to school in august-and to learn how much less I'll take home in my pay due to the rising cost of health insurance.”
Speaking to board members at Monday night’s school board members, Mccord spoke about how teachers are having to make the tough decision to leave the classroom in the county in search of more money.
“You hear a lot about the national teacher shortage this is true however this is not the main reason for packed classes in this county. Teachers in this district are leaving because of constant continuing rise if medical insurance and they're going to neighboring districts to get better pay and benefits.”
According to the Florida Department of Education, for the 2023 school year, the average salary for a teacher is a little more than $46,000 a year.
The average salary in neighboring Leon County is just over $56,000.
A $10,000 difference.
Another teacher and parent I spoke to who didn't want to go on camera say she is worried because her child's class is overcrowded and there's not enough teachers for the number of students.
According to the Florida education Association There are 7000 education vacancies in the state.
36 of those vacancies are in Wakulla County.
That's as of August 8th.
I reached out to the Wakulla County superintendent, Robert Pearce.
Pearce didn't want to speak on camera but gave me this statement saying they are working to fill that gap
“Through a new state Initiative which allows an experienced teacher to supervise larger classes in partnership with a student teacher who is working to get their teaching degree.”
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
"Wakulla County schools successfully welcomed back nearly 5,000 students to the 2023-2024 school year thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and bus drivers.
Increased recruitment efforts enabled our schools to begin the year virtually fully staffed with minimal positions unfilled at each site.
The district is working to implement a new legislative initiative which allows an experienced classroom teacher to supervise larger classes in partnership with a student-teacher who is currently working to finish their teaching degree.
Once they complete their degrees, we hope to welcome these student-teachers as fully certified staff members; this will both close the open positions and further reduce class sizes. The district is confident that as back to school enrollment levels out, schedules are balanced, and these positions are filled, that the districts will meet all class-size requirements before the statewide reporting period. If parents have specific questions about their student's classes, please contact the principal of the school to discuss available options."
Pearce also added Increased recruitment efforts enabled our schools to begin the year virtually fully staffed with minimal positions unfilled at each site.
Although a solution is being made teachers are planning their futures outside of Wakulla School District
Kaylee Meyers teaches in Wakulla. She says she has to leave medical expenses are too much she said going to another school district would pay her more.
"I'm already having to consider leaving the district.”
The school board says they expect to be fully staffed by before the statewide reporting period.