School districts all across the DC region are struggling to hire teachers. This means many classrooms may have to deal with overcrowding due to being short staffed to start the year.
The school year starts here in Prince William County on August 22nd and there are still hundreds of positions that need to be filled.
Parents and people in the community we spoke with like Fatima Segovia are worried about how this will impact the type of education students are receiving.
"With substitutes, it’s just really hard to maintain a routine in classes. The teacher usually creates that routine, but if substitutes are constantly being changed out in each class it’s not going to be good for the kids because they need that structure," said Segovia.
Montgomery County is still in need of 225 teachers, 105 of them for special education. Loudoun County is still looking for around 100 teachers with a majority being special education.
In Prince William County, 318 teachers are still needed with 110 being for special education. It is important to note the school system did add 170 instructional positions to the 2023 budget. The district is also experiencing student enrollment growth which impacts the number of needed positions.
Teachers we spoke with off-camera say there are a few main reasons for issues with recruitment and retention: They are just burnt out after dealing with the pandemic, the increase in behavioral issues with students has been stressful and they feel disrespected, and due to the staffing shortages there is a heavier work load.
In a letter to parents, Prince William County superintendent said they will give middle and high school teachers who agree to teach an additional section another $2,000 in bonuses which will increase their compensation from $12,000 to $14,000 annually.
"I would hope that they would find people to fill-in to give the proper education because we don’t to just send them to school like they did years ago and just push them along, push them along, and get them through school without the proper education because back when I was growing up that happened quite a bit and you heard people graduated and couldn’t even read and write," said Robert Fair.
Not only is there a shortage of teachers, but also bus drivers all across the DMV. In Prince William County, the bus drivers they do have will be doing double routes.