Prospective teachers, counselors and librarians poured into Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology on Thursday as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools tried to fill the last 280 openings to be ready for students to return Aug. 28.
That number might sound daunting, especially to people used to smaller districts. But it’s only about 3 percent of the 9,300 or so teaching jobs in a district that serves almost 150,000 students. And it’s 100 fewer openings than CMS had at the same time last summer, said spokeswoman Renee McCoy.
Thursday’s summer career fair was designed to meet the last-minute needs that arise every year when teachers retire or resign.
“Right now I think it’s fair to say we’re on track in terms of filling professional positions,” Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Wednesday. “We continue to need folks in transportation, particularly bus drivers.”
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The district is seeking more bus mechanics and cafeteria staff as well, he said.
Because she is new to Charlotte, Nicole McIntyre, a K-8 certified teacher, said that she enjoyed the opportunity to speak to administrators in person about positions in their schools.
“I met with a principal that I really enjoyed, and hopefully, we’re actually going to work something out, so that was exciting right off the bat,” McIntyre said.
As CMS continues to grow, open new schools and expand magnet offerings, the need for bus drivers and mechanics has outstripped the district’s ability to fill those jobs. Last school year CMS had originally scheduled 1,080 buses but had to scale back to 1,050 because of a driver shortage.
Find listings for all open CMS jobs at the district’s website, www.cms.k12.nc.us/Jobs.
Meanwhile, CMS is still hashing out its 2017-18 budget, after county commissioners and state legislators approved education spending plans earlier this summer. CMS had asked the county for an additional $4.5 million to hire 42 more counselors, 12 social workers and six psychologists, saying those jobs are essential to supporting students.
Wilcox said the money approved by the county won’t be enough to hire that many new support staff. He said a final CMS budget will likely go to the school board in August.
The Observer’s Jenna Eason contributed.