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Officials blame low pay for teacher turnover

LISBON — An increase in resignations and hirings has brought a high number of personnel changes to area schools.

The Columbiana County Educational Service Center’s board of education approved five resignations and 37 hirings in area schools during its Tuesday night meeting. Superintendent Anna Marie Vaughn said there has been an “awful lot” of hiring all year.

“This has been an unbelievable year for all school districts, we have seen folks hiring eight, nine, 10 teachers this year,” Vaughn said. She said that in the tri-county area, there are 14 openings for high school math teachers, which she said is a hard job to fill.

Board vice president Jackie Mercer said that the vacancy issue circles back to a lack of funding in schools and low pay for teachers. She said that someone who excels in math will be more likely to apply for an engineering job that pays $80,000 a year rather than a high school math teaching position that averages around $34,000 a year.

She expressed her disappointment with this year’s state budget and the lack of funding public schools received.

“When we see that the budget is basically nothing again, it’s disappointing. We’re not going to keep quality people in the classroom at this rate, we’re just not,” Mercer said. “It’s hard, and it just keeps getting harder.”

Board president Richard Stoudt described the budget as cutting public educators “off at the knees” and he worries about the shift that seems to be happening toward funding private education.

“I think we all feel the same way–disappointed and frustrated,” Stoudt said.

lnickel@mojonews.com

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