SAVANANH, Ga. (WSAV) — Students returned to the classroom Aug. 3 and district leaders say there haven’t been any major issues so far.

But like many other school systems around the country, Savannah schools are facing the looming problem of teacher shortages. 

“We currently, we have about 50 vacancies right now so we’re still recruiting,” said Dr. Michel Pantin, HR director with the district.

Almost half of those teacher vacancies right now are in the District’s 23 elementary schools.

“We do have about 20 elementary vacancies,” Pantin said. “And that is just because of the number of elementary schools that we have.”

At full capacity, the school district should have around 400 full-time teachers but in the meantime they’re relying on school principals to maximize the cards they’ve been dealt.

“Our principals are very creative schedulers so they are working together to just fill those gaps,” Pantin said. “You know they do some teachers working on an extended day, but we’re trying to minimize that so that we don’t get into teacher burnout.” 

Retention is also a constant battle.

The district has seen an increase in it’s teachers leaving. Preliminary data  says about 16% of teachers do leave but with a new pay scale in effect, the district hopes that might ease staffing shortages and improve retention.

“We just got a new pay scale,” Pantin said. “A new teacher coming in around 46,000 if they have the teaching credentials and I believe it’s 44 if they don’t.”

If your interested in teaching in the district, click or tap here.