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More than 13,000 students in Maury County head back to school

Posted at 8:39 AM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 09:39:30-04

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Maury County students are heading in for their first day of school on Monday.

This is also the start of the first full year for the district's superintendent.

Superintendent Lisa Ventura spoke about two goals she has for the year. She said safety is a high priority in all schools right now and the second goal deals with literacy. She wants the kids to be able to communicate well in the world.

Maury County is starting the year off with more than 13,000 kids, at a time when the district is seeing teacher shortages.

Ventura said the district is about 20 bus drivers short and 85 teachers short. When it comes to bus driver shortages, they are rerouting buses and worked on plans all weekend as new students were getting registered. Ventura mentioned they do have staff with CDL licenses.

As for teacher shortages, the district has contingency plans.

They want certified teachers in front of classes. It starts with staff that are certified teachers, but don't have a class roster stepping up. The second layer is substitutes. Ventura said the last resort is having classified staff in classrooms such as educational assistants, office workers and bookkeepers.

"It has been alarming. It has been a huge task and always in our mind," Ventura said.

The county is also seeing a lot of growth.

Ventura said while the district is still growing, they are still about giving back to and being partners with the community.

When talking about growth and enrollment she said sometimes they have to be reactive, mentioning putting teachers in places where there is high growth.

She said they will not know until the students get to school.

As for what parents can expect, they are working on hiring teachers and having more support staff to help when things pop up.

She said parents need to be prepared that their student's teacher on the first day may not be the same one a month from now.

"I think just right now if you look at Maury County, you look at our north end coming into Columbia proper is just a huge amount of growth very quickly, but I hope that we've been aggressive enough that students will not feel that. Parents may have to accept that they started with one teacher and the class got so big that we had to hire another teacher," Ventura said.

When it comes to the teachers, Ventura said they worked really hard all summer for the kids.