ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- Just days before the new school year, one local school district is facing a widespread teacher shortage.
Rowan-Salisbury School district says they're short between 70 and 80 teachers.
School board member Joshua Wagner says that number is down from the 133 vacancies they had at the beginning of the year, but that the shortage is nothing new.
"Unfortunately, every year we've had some vacancies-- at least over the last few years," says Wagner.
And because of that, Wagner says students shouldn't expect any major changes during this school year. He also says classroom sizes aren't expected to grow. But he does say that in an effort to make up for the shortage, they've had substitute teachers teaching for extended periods of time.
In North Carolina, substitutes aren't required to have the same certifications as teachers, and that concerned several parents NBC Charlotte spoke to, especially when substitutes are teaching core subjects such as math and science.
"It shows because not all the children get what they actually need. Not every individual learns the same way as the next," said Marquis Egerton, who has two children who attend a Rowan-Salisbury District school.
Wagner says core subjects such as math and science are where they see the most consistent vacancies, but he says the district has begun to think outside the box and try new ways to fill them. For example, Wagner says they’ve hired a professional recruiter, are working with Catawba College to help potential teachers earn master's degrees and have offered bonuses and increased teacher salaries.
The Rowan-Salisbury School district is not the only district in our state facing a teacher shortage; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is another.