Phila. Schools will begin with nearly full staff

    In the past, many Philadelphia public school students started the school year without a permanent teacher in place on the first day.

    In the past, many Philadelphia public school students started the school year without a permanent teacher in place on the first day. And last year at this point, the School District of Philadelphia had almost 300 teaching vacancies district-wide. But this year, school officials say nearly all Philadelphia classrooms will have teachers on the first day of school.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090821lfteacher.mp3]

    The economy could be helping the District sign up teachers. Joel Naroff is the President of Naroff Economic Advisers.

    Naroff: It’s hardly surprising that the School District is now finding that they can get people into places they couldn’t in the past. We’re in a deep recession that’s just about over now but the unemployment rate’s really high and people adjust to that in different ways. Sometimes they go back to school, sometimes they change occupations and sometimes they’re willing to accept positions they might not have under normal circumstances.

    But District officials say hard work paid off in more teachers. Chief Talent and Development Officer Estelle Garrett Matthews says District employees went to more job fairs this year, started the hiring process for new teachers two months earlier, and offered bonuses for prospective teachers who committed on the spot.

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