08/18/04 — 11 new teachers to be hired

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11 new teachers to be hired

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 18, 2004 2:08 PM

Wayne County will be hiring 11 new teachers this term, primarily to reduce class sizes in the elementary schools.

Olivia Pierce, executive director for community relations for the school system, said a legislative mandate recently signed by the governor has contributed to the need for more teachers.

Previously, kindergarten through second-grade class sizes had been reduced. This year's legislation adds third grade to that list.

"The state requires an average of 21 students in grade three classrooms," Mrs. Pierce said. "Capacity is now set between 21 and 24."

As a result, she said, the school system will need to hire seven more third-grade teachers. Funding for them will come from the state.

Two additional teachers each will also be hired at Spring Creek High and Rosewood Middle schools. The two schools experienced slight jumps in enrollment due to transfer choices given to parents this year as the result of lower scores at other schools in the system.

For the most part, Mrs. Pierce said, enrollment numbers have remained constant across the county.

In all, the county has 19,274 students. That is one fewer than last year.

Monday marked the 10th day of school, the day used by the state education department to determine how many teachers the county schools can hire.

At first, the school system started with fewer students than last year. But since the new school year began on Aug. 3, more than 450 students have been added to the rolls in the 31 schools across the county.

Mrs. Pierce said that each year school systems across the state face the same predicament, hiring enough teachers.

"If you hire too many teachers and don't need them, it's unfortunate," she said.

Waiting for the 10-day numbers creates not only a test of patience but the potential for disruption.

"Obviously, we'll have some reorganization as a result of some of the numbers," she said. "Principals will have to reorganize as quickly as possible."

Schools with the sharpest contrast are Northwest Elementary School with about 90 more students, she said, and North Drive Elementary with nearly 100 fewer students this year.

Mrs. Pierce said now that the positions have been identified, it's time to find the candidates.

"Remember that every other school system in the state is looking for additional third-grade teachers, too," she said.