July 23, 2001 — When school starts in about a month, not every class will have a teacher, according to V.I. Education Department officials.
At a Board of Education meeting on St. Croix over the weekend, acting Education Commissioner Lorraine Michael said that since the beginning of last school year, an average of three teachers a month have resigned. That has left vacancies in such critical subjects as special education, math and foreign languages.
"We want to say we will have a seamless opening of school as far as staffing," she told board members. "We cant guarantee that."
Each school district now has approximately 40 vacancies, said Alsace Lewis-Brown, the departments director of personnel. But she hasnt given up hope.
"I really feel optimistic in the way were going in recruitment," she said, adding, however, that teachers are still turning in their resignations without any lead time.
Michael said the department is recruiting through several specialized Internet sites, which have generated about 15 percent of the applications so far considered. The department has also set up booths at recent Jump-up street fairs and the Agricultural Fair on St. Croix.
To make up for the lack of teachers, Michael said classes have been consolidated so students can receive the instruction they need.