Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has 246 full-time teacher openings as of Monday morning, MCPS Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight shared during a media briefing.
She said that number was 396 on July 20. 89 candidates are likely to be hired, which means the school system essentially needs 157 more full-time teachers.
There are 59 open part-time teacher positions. There are 450 open support professional positions, including paraeducators, office workers, building services staff and bus drivers, with 83 candidates in the queue to be hired.
“We need 367 more support professionals,” McKnight said.
The top three areas of need for hiring are special education, elementary school teachers and school psychologists, according to Travis Wiebe, Director of the MCPS Department of Human Capital Management.
There are 50 open bus driver positions. That number was “way over 100” around this time last year, McKnight said. 34 drivers are in the queue to be hired.
In a press release response to the MCPS briefing, the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) said MCPS “has too often dismissed educators’ pleas for workload relief and rejected proposals to address staff burnout.”
“Talented people know that if they want a decent work/life balance, fair compensation, and professional respect, they must look elsewhere for employment,” the statement reads. During a school board meeting last month, MCEA President Jennifer Martin said 1,150 teachers left their jobs during the 2021-2022 school year.
During Monday’s briefing, McKnight said MCPS has “very excellent salaries” and “competitive pay” and said the starting salary for teachers averages around $62,000. She said COVID-19 was a time in which people reevaluated what they wanted to do. There were a number of changes over the two-year period that made people think about retirement and many people made that decision.
“Not to mention, life changed for many of our employees. People experienced loss in a way that they had never experienced before,” McKnight said.
Substitute teachers are key in getting the school year started when there are not enough permanent teachers, McKnight said. MCPS has a cadre of substitute teachers, who work until the full-time position is filled, she said.
MCPS enrollment is at about 158,000 students, which is about 1,000 more than the number at this time last year. August is a very busy month for enrollment, McKnight said.
Aug. 29 is the first day of school for MCPS.