• 61°

Mississippi public schools list 2,100-plus job vacancies

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi public schools are looking for more than 2,100 employees before school starts in August.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that administrators across the state report trouble finding enough teachers, nurses, bus drivers and other employees.

Columbia Superintendent Jason Harris says administrators of Gulf Coast districts recently discussed the need to better recruit and retain teachers.

The newspaper reports that the 30 districts in northeast Mississippi have fewer job openings, on average, than districts elsewhere in the state.

The National Education Association found that the average starting salary for teachers in Mississippi was $34,780 in 2016-2017. That was $3,837 below the national average.

Tupelo superintendent Rob Picou says rural schools struggle recruiting young teachers. When Picou worked in Alaska, he says even high salaries couldn’t overcome that obstacle.