ROCKINGHAM — On Aug. 24, school buses will be running their routes once more as students prepare to begin another year of education in Richmond County’s public schools — but several of those schools remain understaffed.
As of Monday, Richmond County Schools still needed to fill 25 certified positions and two classified positions, according to schools spokeswoman Ashley-Michelle Thublin.
The school district’s website still listed 24 available licensed positions and thee classified positions on Tuesday.
Julian Carter, director of human resources for Richmond County Schools, said he expects the numbers to decrease rapidly as the first required teacher work days begin just three weeks from now.
“Richmond County Schools’ position search is very fluid,” Carter said. “We are hopeful that by next Monday many of these positions will be filled. We will fill many of them now but will continue to look for high-quality teachers for all classrooms.”
On Tuesday, teachers at L.J. Bell Elementary School were busy readying their classrooms for the first day of school.
L.J. Bell Principal Yvonne Gilmer said she is fortunate to have all the teachers her school needs for the new year hired.
“I’m so glad we have everyone we need here,” Gilmer said. “It might look like a mess in the halls right now because maintenance is doing some work on a pipe that runs from our chiller unit, but many of our teachers work hard in the summer, too. We have a few who have already got their classrooms set up.”
Many other principals are not as lucky. Schools still posting vacancies are East Rockingham Elementary School, Hamlet Middle School, Rockingham Middle School, Richmond County Ninth-Grade Academy, Washington Street School, Cordova School, Rohanen Middle School, Monroe Avenue Elementary School, Richmond Senior High School, Fairview Heights Elementary School and West Rockingham Elementary School.
Earlier this year, Carter said Richmond County Schools has a lot to offer teachers who come to work here.
“We have a wonderful district, and are very good to our teachers, and they like to work for us,” he said. “But, when you look at Richmond County Schools’ supplement, we’re certainly less than some in our surrounding areas.”
Still, he said, there are other incentives that motivate the county’s best teachers, and the teachers who choose Richmond County are devoted to their careers.
The starting salary for a first-year North Carolina teacher in the 2014-15 school year was $33,000. This year’s state salary manual has not yet been published pending a budget vote in the General Assembly. Richmond County’s annual salary supplement is $945 for first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree and $1,006 for beginning educators who have earned a master’s degree.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.