POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis approved $800 million for teacher salary increases, but many school districts say the shortage of educators still affects their classrooms.
The Board of Education supported a study that says teacher vacancies could surpass 9,000 by the end of 2022.
“We empower our students so they want to come back,” said Principal Adam Lane at Haines City High.
There are several new schools that opened up in Polk County over the last year, which put more pressure on the shortage issue, but Lane said the shortage problem hasn’t hit his campus.
“I’m proud to say right now we have 54 alumni on our staff,” said Lane. “That’s what we try to do is build that leadership pipeline.”
Several Haines City alumni that are now teachers in the campus talked about why teaching was the right role for them.
“I love what I do,” said Camil Fowler, an intensive reading teacher at Haines City High. “It’s incredibly important to care about your students and really put your heart and soul in it. These kids can tell when you care about them and when you don’t.”
While Fowler is now an intensive reading teacher at Haines City High, that’s not where this journey started.
“I graduated from here; my husband and I both went here,” said Fowler. “He’s a teacher, too.”
Fowler’s husband, Garrett, is an English teacher at Haines City High.
“These kids really need someone who is a good influence on them and somebody who will help them out,” said Garrett.
The Department of Education conducted a study that showed where schools are in the most need; math, science and English teachers were at the top of that list.
The Polk County school district released this statement:
“As of early March, we had approximately 190 teacher vacancies (PCPS employs roughly 7,000 teachers). We’re having a virtual districtwide job fair on April 23 that will allow all PCPS schools to recruit teachers and other positions for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.”
Anyone interested can register and find more info at www.polkschoolsfl.com/jobfair