CENTRAL FLORIDA - Students and teachers will return to their classrooms over the next few weeks for the start of the school year, despite districts across Central Florida needing more teachers and bus drivers.
Collectively, thousands of teachers are needed across Florida, according to the Florida Education Association, with a few districts looking to fill more than 100 teaching positions each.
Orange County Public Schools, the largest district in Central Florida, said it has 110 open teaching positions. If not all positions are filled right away, the district said those positions could be filled by other district employees.
Seminole Public County Schools said it has 43 open teaching positions and needs about 40 bus drivers.
Over in Brevard County, the district told FOX 35 previously that it was looking to fill 179 teaching positions and 225 support staff positions, including 54 bus drivers.
The School District of Osceola County told FOX 35 that it has 187 open teaching positions and 30-40 open bus driver positions.
"School districts across the nation are facing a shortage whether it’s teachers, support staff or even bus drivers and attendants," said Zach Downes, a spokesperson for Osceola County Schools.
To help attract applicants, the district raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and has regularly had hiring fairs to fill those positions.
"That has a high impact on our students here in Florida, especially in Osceola County," Downes said. "With that many teachers being absent, that means teachers taking on more students. Some students might have a substitute teacher until the district can fill that position."