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South Jersey school districts still searching to fill teacher vacancies as school year nears

Two New Jersey superintendents comment on teacher shortage
Two New Jersey superintendents comment on teacher shortage 01:59

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- We are less than two weeks from the start of school in South Jersey and many districts are still looking to fill teacher vacancies. 

With South Jersey schools less than two weeks away from opening many districts are still looking to fill teacher vacancies.

Eyewitness News' South Jersey reporter Brandon Goldner sits down with two South Jersey superintendents to find out which subjects they desperately need teachers for and how they're trying to find them.

The Camden High campus' science labs are quiet right now but after Labor Day, they'll be buzzing with activity, the chairs filled with students successfully problem-solving. 

Meanwhile, the Camden City School District is trying to solve its own problem.

"Our highest area of need is chemistry, chemistry teachers, as well as higher level math teachers and also special education teachers," superintendent Katrina McCombs said. 

Superintendent Katrina McCombs says, like many South Jersey districts, they have a higher teacher vacancy rate than in past years about 50 open positions.

In Cherry Hill Superintendent Doctor Joseph Meloche says they've done well, but they're still having trouble filling some openings.

"We're still struggling in some of the specialty areas in world languages, in some of the content areas at the secondary schools, in math and science. we're always desiring more candidates," superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche said. 

These vacancies come as a June survey by the American Federation of Teachers found a spike in the number of teachers not satisfied with their jobs.

Seventy percent described last school year as one of the worst in their careers and 38 percent say they expect to leave the profession in the next one to two years.

Cherry Hill says in their last contract negotiations they raised teacher wages and increased the rate for daily substitute teachers.

Camden's supporting their paraeducators to become fully-fledged teachers and they're working with Rowan University's Men of Color Hope Achievers or MOCHA program which recruits men of color who are deciding to change careers or college majors and go into teaching.

"So we're working to just build pipelines in many different ways to help ourselves to close that gap as best we can," McCombs said.

Closing the vacancy gap between summer and the start of school grows even closer.

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