FLORIDA — Teachers are quitting at record rates, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

  • Hillsborough Co. had 1,382 resign or retire during 2017-2018 school year
  • Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Manatee all have open teaching positions
  • Average annual salary of teacher in Florida = $47,000
  • Other Education stories

Across the Bay area, school districts have been working to keep pay competitive in order to retain teachers. Joe Stokes, who retired in 2016 after spending his career as a teacher and principal, says from his experience the turnover is due to many possible factors. 

"One of the first words that teachers will use is 'loss of autonomy,'" he said. "For people that wanted to work with kids and wanted to motivate, wanted to encourage, wanted to inspire, it seemed like those things took a backseat to the accountability age." 

Hillsborough County has a total of 14,773 teachers across the district. They had 1,382 resign or retire during the 2017-2018 school year.

To date, they are short 180 teachers. 

In Pinellas County, meanwhile, they have roughly 7,300 teachers. They had approximately 660 resign or retire following the 2017-2018 school year, and to date have 65 open teaching positions. 

Elsewhere, both Polk and Pasco counties are looking to hire roughly 60 public school teachers, while Manatee has 25 positions posted. 

"As a principal in the beginning of my career, I would interview 15 to 20 people," Stokes said, while referencing the amount of candidates interested in any one teaching position. "Now, principals will tell you, 'I had maybe one applicant.'" 

The average salary for a teacher in the state of Florida is roughly $47,000.