Division faces vacancies

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) are facing teaching vacancies for the upcoming school year, according to LCPS Superintendent Charles Berkley.

Berkley confirmed that among the five teaching position vacancies are positions for a special education teacher for Central High School and a history teacher for Lunenburg Middle School.

Interviews are expected to take place this week, Berkley said.

He cited that special education teachers, elementary school teachers, a media specialist, career and training education teachers and guidance counselors are positions that might face shortages in the upcoming school year. The first day of school for the division is Aug. 15.

Berkley said this shortage in teachers has not only been a trend in the county, but in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well.

“We are experiencing this in Lunenburg County as well as all surrounding school divisions in Southside Virginia and the state,” Berkley said in an email.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), schools across Virginia are facing critical shortages for teachers in certain subjects and grade levels for the 2017-18 school year.

Among the subjects that greatly need teachers are special education teachers, elementary school teachers, foreign language teachers, career and technical education instructors, mathematics teachers for grades sixth through 12th and school counselors.

Competitive salaries across the Heart of Virginia have also been cited as a reason that counties face challenges in filling teaching positions, a statement recently made by Cumberland County Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin, who said the county is looking for eight teaching positions for the county’s elementary, middle and high schools.

Salary ranges for the upcoming school year for Lunenburg, according to LCPS’ website, begin at $37,407 and end at $52,074.

According to a VDOE survey of actual average teacher salaries in Virginia counties in 2016, Lunenburg County was listed as having an average teacher salary of $46,559.

While some counties in Southside Virginia are working to fill open or vacant positions, some counties are set with all teaching positions filled for the upcoming school year.

Sharon Hall, executive director of instruction at Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS), said in a statement that the county’s schools are not experiencing shortages for teaching positions this year.

“Charlotte County Public Schools are pleased to currently have all teaching positions filled for the 2017-18 school year,” Hall said in a statement. “Since finding qualified, certified teachers, especially in the areas of Math and Science, continues to be a challenge in our rural area, we are excited to welcome thirteen new teachers who are either fully licensed or in the process of applying for licensure with the Virginia Department of Education.”

The actual average teaching salary for 2016 in Charlotte County, according to data from VDOE, is $44,762.

Charlotte County Public Schools listed job applications for a speech and language pathologist, an elementary special education teacher, an elementary school teacher and a part time personal care assistant position for the upcoming school year. Hall said the elementary teacher, personal care assistant and speech language pathologist positions have been filled. The special education teacher position, Hall said, is no longer a needed position. The job positions are set to be removed from the CCPS website.

Starting salary for teaching positions, according to information from the Charlotte County website for the upcoming school year, is $38,500 with a $2,112 master’s stipend.