By Associated Press - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - There are fewer teaching vacancies in Beaufort County than a year ago in the county with South Carolina’s highest cost of living.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports ( ) that, as of Tuesday, the Beaufort County School District needed 46 employees, including 17 teachers. That’s down from about 70 vacant staff positions a year ago.

The district credits recruiting earlier to fill the empty slots.

“We are working diligently today, tomorrow, to fill those positions,” said Alice Wilson, the district’s head of human resources. “All eyes and arms and legs and everybody is moving in that direction to get those positions filled.”

The newspaper reported earlier this year the district’s 12 percent teacher turnover rate is partly due to the cost of living.

The state Commerce Department says it’s more expensive to live in Beaufort County than in any other county and teachers, especially new ones, have a hard time getting by on their salaries.

Walton said most of the current openings in the district are the result of resignations although there were some people who retired as well.

She said that this year, the district began hiring teachers at its annual career fair in March instead of waiting until the end of May.

District spokesman Jim Foster said the district expects to fill many of the remaining vacancies by the time classes for the new school year begin Monday.

Legislators are studying what they can do to help schools recruit and retain high-quality teachers, but discussions have focused on poor, rural districts where turnover is highest. Rural Hampton 2 posted the highest turnover rate of 30 percent in 2013-14, according to the state Department of Education.


Information from: The Island Packet,

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