BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — A nationwide teacher shortage is felt locally in the Eastern Panhandle as 26 teachers resigned in Berkeley County before the new school year starts.
Berkeley County Schools currently has 59 teacher positions open. However, the assistant superintendent says the resignations are not unusual.
“Given the number of resignations that we’ve experienced over this past year, it’s right in line with all of our past years,” said Dr. Justin Schooley, Assistant Superintendent of Berkeley County Schools.
Nearby in Jefferson County, school officials say, even with the average 10% pay raise over the last two years, they still lag behind Maryland and Virginia.
Hans Fogle is the Public Information Officer for Jefferson County Schools. He says, “Teaching is a challenging profession, and it’s becoming more and more competitive.”
For the upcoming school year, Washington County Public Schools in Maryland raised their teacher salary an additional $9,000.
They’re currently looking to fill 10 vacancies.
“We’re looking at less than one percent that we have vacant at this time,” said Erin Anderson, Public Information Officer for Washington Co. Public schools.
She adds, “It’s a good place for us to be in going into the school year.”
The struggles in West Virginia have been well documented when it comes to teacher salary, with highly competitive states nearby, which offer more pay.
Jefferson County Schools to date has 16 teacher positions that need to be filled: “A trip up the road to Maryland or say down to Virginia can be up to $10,000 more a year and it’s hard to compete with that, but we do have a lot of dedicated educators,” said Fogle.
The first day for Jefferson County and Morgan County students is August 19, Berkeley County students report to class on August 20 and Washington County Public Schools resumes class on September 3.