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CMS Principals Scramble To Hire New Teachers

Correction: This story includes a correction. The orginal version reported the wrong number of new teachers being hired. School starts for most kids next week. In CMS one of the biggest chores remains filling hundreds of teaching positions, many of them on short notice. Principals keep busy in the summer. For one, there's a lot of hiring. Teachers retire or transfer to other schools. Those positions need to be filled. Last month principals got a surprise. After a few years of layoffs the district was actually adding 500 teachers. 50 to be exact. "It's a blessing and a curse," says West Meck High principal Eric Ward. He's thrilled his school is getting three new teachers, but they've come with a lot of last minute work. Schedules and classroom assignments have to be re-worked. Then, there are all the job interviews. CMS added teaching positions because the county and state gave the district more money than expected this summer. Many principals are now scrambling to make sure they have all those teachers for the beginning of the school year. School closings have also meant a lot of new hires at surrounding schools this summer. Thomasboro's principal Jan McIver has lined up about a dozen new teachers since June. "We've interviewed a lot. I'd say at least 200-250 interviews," says McIver. Thomasboro is becoming a pre-k-8 school along with seven others. That's meant assignment patterns have shifted a lot and the school is expecting an extra 120 elementary school kids this year, along with all the new middle-schoolers. For one job, she got more than 400 applications. "It is a pretty time-consuming process, but I think that it's the most important process of the summer so that you're stacking your deck and ready to go on August 25th," says McIver. McIver learned in July she'd get an extra two positions. But she's holding off on hiring those in case Thomasboro gets more students than expected. If not, she says the school will get a new science lab teacher and a reading specialist.