From the school board elections to bus driver shortages, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools faced many major changes and challenges in 2023.
At the beginning of the school year, there were an estimated 2,840 instructional vacancies statewide, according to the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association.
Thomas Soth, an AP Spanish teacher at Chapel Hill High School, said he and two other teachers have had to take on additional classes, while another Spanish teacher has larger class sizes to make up for the loss of a teacher in their department.
He said he thinks a historically desirable district like CHCCS struggling to hire new staff shows that the teacher shortage is an issue everywhere.
Soth also said work needs to be done at the legislative level to reinstall teaching programs that incentivize people to pursue teaching in public schools.
“When you go into teaching, you know that you're not going in to get the money. But if you could at least see some more of the benefits that sometimes media or teachers themselves or students don't always see, the joys that you can get being a teacher, because they're there — it would be great if everybody could see that more often,” he said.
Starting in November 2022, a lack of available bus drivers began impacting school instructional hours. According to André Stewart, chief operations officer for CHCCS, the district had a shortage of 10 drivers each morning.
During the shortage, drivers had to double up on routes, and this contributed to a number of students being late for classes.