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200 Teachers Needed in Prince George's County

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. Aug 18 - Prince George's County Public Schools will start the academic year Monday with about 200 unfilled teaching positions, but district officials said they will use substitutes to make sure there is an instructor in each classroom.

The school system has filled 1,100 of the 1,300 openings and is in better shape than last year, when it had roughly 300 vacancies, spokesman John White said.

Prince George's has the second-largest system in Maryland and the 18th largest in the country with a projected 134,421 students. The starting salary this year for teachers with a bachelor's degree in the county's 205 public schools is $43,000.

The district used a a $300,000 advertising campaign to recruit more qualified teachers this year.

"By starting earlier and competing aggressively, we've successfully hired more teachers than in previous years," White said.

Education programs in Maryland colleges and universities produce only 2,500 graduates each year, making competition for them fierce among school districts, he said.

William Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education, said some of the substitute teachers being used to fill gaps in the state are not fully certified. But officials are trying to get them credentials "in short order," as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, he said.

In the District of Columbia, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said the system started with 220 vacancies this summer but had filled all but 27 of them as of two weeks ago.

"We feel confident that we will be able to open schools with all the declared vacancies filled," she said. D.C. schools open Aug. 27.

Arlington County will hire about 1,250 teachers before school begins, said school spokeswoman Mary Shaw. She could not say how many teachers had already been hired, but said the county did not expect to come up short.

The Washington Times
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