Columbia County hires dozens of new teachers

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News 12 First at Five, June 19, 2007

EVANS, GA--Columbia County has been hard at work, trying to hire enough teachers to keep up with their fast growing population.

Today, the school board tells News 12 they're close to reaching their goal of bringing more than six dozen on staff before this coming school year.

School board member Mike Sleeper says they're continuing to build more schools to keep up with the growing enrollment.

"The larger the class sizes get, the harder it is for teachers to manage." Sleeper said.

Their goal is to add 57 new classrooms and 76 new faculty and staff.

Sleeper says they've been working for months to reach that goal. That includes two teacher fairs where they met with about 230 teachers each time.

"It's a very long and involved process, but we have a great human resources manager that really stays on the ball." He said.

Now, the process is almost complete. They're close to reaching this original goal: 24 elementary school teachers, 1 part-time employee for middle school, 13 faculty and staff for high school, 17 in special education, and 22 for other non-core positions.

Board members say all those new people are necessary, because hundreds of new students fill the classrooms every year.

"There's a big difference between 25 students in a classroom and 30 students. The more one on one they can have, the better." Sleeper said.

He says more one-on-one means a better chance at a better education.

Columbia County says many of next year's teachers have already signed their contracts.

Aiken County schools will be hiring throughout the summer. Richmond County also says they also have a few positions to fill, but they have fewer vacancies this year than in the past.

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