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Most teaching, bus driver slots filled

Colleton’s teacher shortage has been significantly reduced, with the district filling nearly all of the once open teaching slots.

Prior to the start of the summer break, Colleton leaders were looking to fill nearly 40 open teaching slots. These slots were in classrooms across the district, with most of the vacancies being in special needs, math and science.

As of press deadline, district leaders say that Colleton County only has nine teaching spots still open.

Most of these open slots are at Colleton County High School, with one elementary teaching spot open at Hendersonville Elementary School. The majority of the district’s current teaching vacancies are in the areas of art and physical education.

“We are still searching for teachers,” said Cliff Warren, assistant superintendent for Colleton County School District. Warren has led the district’s recruitment efforts throughout the year, and has been heavily involved in teacher retention efforts and in finding new instructors. According to him, the district is about to offer a few new teachers their instructional contracts. This could reduce the number of nine vacancies down even further before the actual start of the school year, he said.

According to Warren, Colleton County helped to fill the once empty local classrooms by searching statewide and throughout the nation. “We have teachers in our classrooms now from across the state, and some internationally,” he said.

When the district’s teacher shortage was first announced several months ago, Warren said the local shortage mirrored a teacher shortage problem happening across the state and nation. Low teacher pay, testing standards and fewer teachers joining the education field were all contributing factors, he said.

In addition to Colleton’s teacher shortage, the district has suffered from a school bus driver shortage. This school bus driver shortage has been an ongoing problem in the district for three consecutive years. As of Tuesday, however, Warren says the district only has four uncovered routes. This is down from nearly two dozen open routes that the district had toward the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

According to Warren, the district is currently training three new bus drivers. If their training is successfully completed, then Colleton would only be short by one driver. “It’s going to be great,” he said. Colleton will start the new school with new bus routes and new start times for each school. Because of these new factors, Warren says the district’s leaders are asking for parents’ patience at the start of the incoming school year.

For a complete list of bus routes and school start times, visit www.colletonsd.org.

Heather Walters (1494 Posts)