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Just days before the start of the school year, Prince William County Public Schools is still trying to hire hundreds of teachers, coaches and nurses. 

Communications staff told InsideNoVa that as of Tuesday, the division was trying to fill 150 teacher positions. Before the 2019-2020 school year began, it had 92 positions to fill. The number is higher this year in part because the county is hiring for two new schools, according to the division’s top human resources administrator.

The school system’s online job board showed 219 full-time openings in total, with some dating as far back as September of last year featuring “repost” notices. 

The school system has about 11,400 employees overall. 

The division is also making a significant push to hire bus drivers. On July 14, the division released a recruiting video on YouTube featuring School Board members and new Superintendent LaTanya McDade targeting bus drivers.  Over three days earlier this week, the division’s recruitment Twitter page has posted five different calls for drivers, touting the starting wage of $21.34 an hour. 

The division’s job board includes only one listing that encompasses all driver and bus attendant openings.  So far, bus schedules have not been altered due to any staffing shortages, but the transportation services website does feature a note that “bus route information can change in the beginning of the school year due to student enrollment.” 

Prince William public schools open Monday. In adjacent Stafford County, bus driver shortages caused a number of disruptions to the start of the county’s school year last week.

Donna Eagle, Prince William’s associate superintendent for human resources, told InsideNoVa that as of Wednesday about 100 drivers were still needed, but that she’s encouraged because 44 are in training. 

Eagle said the higher number of teacher vacancies is in part because the division had more new positions to fill in the first place with two new schools opening this fall. 

But Prince William is also facing the same shortage of teachers as other school systems nationwide, she noted. 

Enrollment in teacher education programs has been declining since before the pandemic, and other divisions in the region have said hiring has been disrupted by the pandemic. According to a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson quoted by Fox News, 48 states are reporting special education teacher shortages.

The Prince William division’s job board lists 20 openings for teachers of students with learning disabilities and 14 openings for full-time teachers for students with autism, as well as six more openings for part-time autism teacher positions. 

Eagle said the division is trying to get creative to fill gaps. The division has grown a “TA to Teacher” program in which it partnered with George Mason University to get teachers assistants with bachelor’s degrees the coursework needed to become provisionally licensed special education teachers. 

Prince William also has the state’s largest partnership with Participate Learning, which brings teachers to the United States from abroad through a special visa arrangement with the Department of State. Currently, the county has 112 teachers through the program. 

“We’re doing a lot of very creative and exciting initiatives here to help grow our pool of certified teachers,” Eagle said.

It’s not just the division’s own human resources department that’s actively looking for workers. Last week, AlphaBEST, which provides child-care services through a contract with the school division, said staffing shortages would delay the start of before- and after-school child care programs at 17 county elementary schools and seven middle schools.

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

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Jared Foretek covers Prince William County Public Schools, the city of Manassas and transportation news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

(8) comments

Anita Cooper

Prince William County has a few good teachers and Principles but they County itself is really not concerned about educating students, especially those in special Education. I have been a part of their terrible experiment for those children and its in shambles. Glorified baby sitters are what you are mire likely to get. Off course I have had a few Stars in the prof was but they bad apples are what made me decide to move away fro m that county. Someone needs to give them a Kids First approach instead of bullocracy and numbers approach!

George Lawton

Who would want to work in such a horrific environment with CRT, face diapers and on top of it some crappy government salary? No thanks, private schools or home school your children. It’s the only way to keep them away from the degenerate Marxist clowns.

Larry Lyons

You just keep going further and further out there. I rather doubt you'd know a Marxist even if old Karl himself snuck up behind you and gave you a nuclear wedgie.

Paul Benedict

Maybe teachers, bus drivers, and others are hesitant to work for someone bringing Chicago values to Prince William County.

Change Craford

Paul, What an ignorant comment. If you think you can run the school district much better, apply or run for office. You won't because you are nothing but another lying deplorable who wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the face.

Paul Benedict

Really Change? I love your name BTW. I suggested a reason why there might be unfilled vacancies in the school district and that makes me a lying deplorable in your mind? That's hilarious. I bet you are a joy to work with. But seriously, why did Prince William County bring in an expert from one of the worst school districts in the nation? Were experts from Baltimore, Trenton and St Louis unavailable? Seriously, I know of many areas of the country where good teachers leave when districts go loony left, so perhaps that is part of the problem. And these districts never improve, ever. It's downhill from here on out. And to your point of applying or running for an office, I am not qualified to be be school superintendent, nor am I politically connected enough to run for Board position, but I can comment on anything I feel like, whether you think it ignorant or not. It's America, not Amerika.

Dennis Nelson

BRAVO, Paul! You are exactly dead on correct. Why on earth would anyone in their right mind hire anyone from one of the large metro areas of the country. It makes no sense when all they have to do is look at the educational record of these areas, especially that hell hole, Chicago!

Janelle Anderson

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