CMS still needs 280 teachers – and officials say that’s not as b - | WBTV Charlotte

CMS still needs 280 teachers – and officials say that’s not as bad as it sounds

Kim White, assistant principal at Winget Park Elementary, and Rick Mohrien, principal, greet Lashami Morrison, a teacher, (left to right) at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools job fair on Thursday. (Jenna Eason | The Charlotte Observer) Kim White, assistant principal at Winget Park Elementary, and Rick Mohrien, principal, greet Lashami Morrison, a teacher, (left to right) at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools job fair on Thursday. (Jenna Eason | The Charlotte Observer)
Sign outside CMS’ Oakhurst STEAM Academy. (Ann Doss Helms | The Charlotte Observer) Sign outside CMS’ Oakhurst STEAM Academy. (Ann Doss Helms | The Charlotte Observer)
CHARLOTTE, NC (Ann Doss Helms/The Charlotte Observer) -

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.”

The district is seeking more bus mechanics and cafeteria staff as well, he 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.

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.

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