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Baltimore schools staffed with leaders, but many still need teachers

Principals are in place, but Baltimore City schools have 90 teacher vacancies.

All Baltimore city schools are poised to open with a leader this year, but there are 90 teaching vacancies that remain.

The district announced seven principal appointments Tuesday in a special meeting, and said they were working to process the remaining teacher vacancies by Monday when students return to school. One vacancy remains.

Lisa Grillo, chief human capital officer for the district, said that the 90 teaching vacancies that remain are the lowest in years. In comparison, she said, there were 192 teacher vacancies last year.

City schools CEO Gregory Thornton has faced backlash over staffing issues this year, following the departure of high-profile principals -- including the principals who led schools in neighborhoods affected by the Freddie Gray unrest --  and school layoffs that included the depletion of a surplus pool of teachers.

On Monday, Thornton and members of the city council clashed over principal turnover when some questioned how principals appointed Tuesday would be ready to lead a school just days before the school year begins on Aug. 31.

This year's principal vacancies, however, pale in comparison to previous years -- particularly under city schools CEO Andres Alonso, when the district had a turnover rate of more than 90 percent, and more than 40 principals were being appointed in one summer, 15 in the week before school started.


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