BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Some students in Brunswick County will be welcomed by substitute teachers on their first day of school, because about 82 teachers have left the county since June.
Human Resource Director Mark Paiser presented the retention rate during the Human Resources Committee meeting Tuesday.
"The number of teachers leaving the field is significantly higher than I've ever realized from the past," Paiser explained.
Paiser said if these teachers are not getting out of education, they're headed to a higher paying district. He explained a lot of the teachers leaving are only three or four years into the job.
"It's a professional development challenge for us as a system," Paiser said.
The county continues to up its recruiting and professional development efforts.
"Our schools will be open, our schools will be ready. We have a 100 percent qualified teaching staff, so everyone's licensed in the area that they're supposed to be licensed in but the challenge is that we've got this rotation," Paiser commented.
Paiser said 181 teachers have left the county since August 2013, which translates to one in five teachers leaving. The turnover rate has historically only been around 11 percent.
The county still has more than a dozen openings for teachers, but Paiser expects to have them filled within the first few weeks of school.
Teachers and instructional support employees can expect to see an average 7 percent pay increase with longevity folded into their monthly salary.
Teachers with 30 years of experience technically made more with last year's pay schedule. Those veteran teachers will keep their current salaries, with a $1000 bonus.
For a full look at this school year's teacher salary schedule visit http://buff.ly/1veCFZV.
The school board discussed Tuesday morning, plans to up the teacher supplements, as a way of keeping young teachers on the job.
Financial officials suggested a local 1.5 percent increase in teacher pay in addition to the state's increase. The school district would have to shell out $267,357 for this additional salary increase.
The Board will further discuss this plan next Thursday.
The state budget cut teacher assistant funding by 22 percent or $840,000. Brunswick County Schools lost 25 teacher assistant positions.
Paiser said the district will not have to lay off any current TAs because the district anticipated this cut and kept vacancies available to offset losses. Current TAs were offered new jobs in other areas of the school system.
Even with all the cuts and changes school officials are trying to stay positive.
"So we've lost 25 TAs in elementary schools, in addition to the teacher turnover. But I have got to reinforce Brunswick County schools, we'll be smiling, we'll be receptive, we'll be ready for the kids next week," Paiser said.
The state budget also eliminated $136,000 in funding for digital learning.
To comply with the new Affordable Care Act regulations, Brunswick county Schools must now provide healthcare to 17 part-time employees. This will cost the district $85,000.