Florida’s sharp teacher vacancy increase tied to pandemic, pay

Before every school year, the state’s teachers’ union, the Florida Education Association, surveys local school district job vacancies. They compile the data into a spreadsheet that captures a snapshot of open full-time certified instructor positions and other school support jobs.

The union has tracked a roughly 67% increase in vacancies statewide since this time last year. “That’s huge,” said Florida Education Association Vice President Carole Gauronskas.

The pandemic is largely to blame for the sharp rise in openings, she said. “Many have taken early retirement. For those who’ve had underlying health issues that cannot be accommodated, they left the classroom setting for a safer environment.”

The data show nearly 5,000 teacher vacancies and about 3,700 school support staff openings across the state on Aug. 2.

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