Pasco schools have fewer teaching vacancies than in past years
The resumption of classes across Florida this month has brought an onslaught of stories about classrooms without full-time teachers, as educators don't apply for job openings and others lose their posts after failing tougher certification exams.
Those problems certainly exist within the Pasco County school district. But not to the extent that district officials had feared.
The district opened the school year with just over 100 unfilled teacher positions, a number that decreased to 63 as of Thursday.
"I feel much, much better going into the school year staffing-wise this year than I have in the five years I've been here," superintendent Kurt Browning said.
He did not discount the difficulties inherent in having a classroom staffed by a substitute rather than permanent teacher. But he suggested the district's reorganized Human Resources department helped keep the vacancies lower.
The district created four "human capital" employees whose job is to better match applicants to school needs. Browning said that change, plus strong job fairs and recruiting, has helped direct more good teachers to campuses they might not have otherwise considered. The district altered its system after receiving a critical report panning its recruitment and retention efforts.