With just a few weeks before school opens, Baltimore city and county school systems still have several hundred vacancies for teachers.
Despite the large number of vacancies, school officials in both the city and county said they expect to be nearly fully staffed by the time school opens. The city is holding a job fair today and will be making offers on the spot for qualified applicants. The fair, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be held at the Francis M. Woods High School at 1001 W. Saratoga Street the county is trying to attract Spanish teachers with a link on the front of its website asking for applicants.
Baltimore City, which had 210 vacancies as of August 1, is ahead in its hiring this year compared to the past several years. In 2013, the city still needed 279 teachers and last year it was hiring for 243 vacancies at this time.
"Unlike past years, we have both an improved, more efficient screening and hiring process and an active recruitment campaign that is successfully targeting teachers in key areas of need—for example, to serve our growing population of English learners," said spokeswoman Edie House in a statement. The school system will continue its campaign throughout the school year.
Baltimore County is adding teachers to handle an increase in enrollment and an expanded foreign language program in the elementary grades, and still has 117 teaching positions open.
The county usually has fewer teaching positions open at this time, but spokesman Mychael Dickerson said the system is slightly behind because it is hiring more teachers this year. In its search for Spanish speakers to teach elementary school students, it has hired six teachers from Puerto Rico. Any vacancies remaining at the beginning of the school year will be staffed with substitute teachers.
The starting salary in Baltimore County is $46,000, compared to $48,430 in the city.