CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will welcome back about 141,000 students this year, but not all will have a permanent teacher.
“I can tell you that at some of our top schools, it's pushing proximately 18 vacancies at some of our larger comprehensive high schools," said Christine Pejot, the district's chief human relations officer during a Friday press conference.
CMS, like other districts in the area, is facing a teacher shortage ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.
The district said it has plans in place to staff classes without a permanent teacher.
"A lot of guest teachers in place, and we have 409 currently employed across the district with about 40 some openings," Pejot said. "They're in a much better position to be able to cover and be ready for classes and students on that first day of school."
Funding for guest teachers is provided by COVID-19 relief dollars, and funding expires in June 2023.
The minimum requirements are a high school diploma, a clean background check, and being 21 years old. Guest teachers are assigned to a specific school and can earn up to $150 per day as full-time employees.
"You do not have to hold an advanced degree or any type of degree, you have to basically have a passion and an interest for being in the classroom with students and supporting students," Pejot said.
The district says even with these vacancies, up to 95% of classrooms are filled.
CMS also noted it recognizes guest teachers are not a permanent solution to replace certified teachers.
"Depending upon the subject area, or the licensure that's required for a particular vacancy, it may be harder, or maybe not so hard to cover that classroom. So we really do take a very nuanced look when it comes to vacancies," Pejot said.
The district also said it has a pool of around 1,000 substitute teachers in addition to another 1,300 people with part-time positions who can serve as substitutes if needed.