(WGHP) – There are hundreds of teacher and bus driver vacancies in the Piedmont Triad as students start heading back to school.
Some classes are in session, but for most kids, the first bell rings in three weeks.
“It’s always a little nervous here in August when you still see positions being opened,” said Paul Piatkowski, an English teacher at North Davidson High School. “I think it creates a lot of uncertainty for us.”
Here is a county-by-county breakdown of the current openings, which may include full and part-time employment, according to school district officials or the district’s job listing website:
Openings for teachers;
Guilford County Schools: 55
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools: 190
Alamance-Burlington School System: 97
Davidson County Schools: 44
Davie County Schools: 6
Randolph County Schools: 41
Rockingham County Schools: 43
Surry County Schools: 7
Wilkes County Schools: 26
Yadkin County Schools: 10
Openings for bus drivers;
Guilford County Schools: 57
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools: 55
Alamance-Burlington School System: 30
Davidson County Schools: 25
Davie County Schools: 8
Randolph County Schools: 90
Rockingham County Schools: 25
Surry County Schools: 6
Wilkes County Schools: 11
Yadkin County Schools: 12 but moved to a tiered bus schedule
Other school districts did not provide the information or a job listing website. Most school districts have a higher number of openings now compared to this same time last year.
Piatkowski is worried about the workload for teachers with dozens of vacancies in Davidson County.
“We’re not quite sure what our schedules are going to look like,” he said. “What our class sizes are going to be.”
He said fewer people are signing up for the profession because of pay, COVID-19 challenges, conflicts at board of education meetings and abrupt changes to the job.
“I think all that movement and all of those changes just create a lot of lack of consistency and kind of nervousness about what it’s going to look like when we get there because teachers like to plan,” Piatkowski said. “It’s hard to go into that when…it may not be as supportive a system as you hoped it would be.”
Staff with the Alamance-Burlington School System are actively recruiting teachers and bus drivers inside and outside the county.
“All districts are battling this,” said Les Atkins, ABSS public information officer. “The immediate need is to fill these positions.”
Atkins told FOX8 that a $1,000 sign-on and recruitment bonus didn’t help with getting new bus drivers. He said district officials hope a $10,000 hiring bonus will help fill the 97 teacher openings, similar to the GCS hiring incentive.
“Filling vacancies is a priority right now to avoid the need for excessive substitutes and classroom coverage,” he said. “We really don’t want that going into the year.”
Atkins said they’re using the bonuses, social media and other ways to attract teachers.
“Good old-fashioned calling other school districts and reaching out to teachers who may be interested in working in our district,” Atkins said.
The openings change constantly, and some possible new hires may be in the process of going through background checks or getting scheduled for training.
Both the ABSS and WS/FCS School Board members are meeting to discuss new strategies to fill both teacher and bus driver positions on Tuesday.