COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment Retention and Advancement conducts research on the state’s education system focusing on educators and the numbers in the state.

The report for the 2018-2019 school year shows once again that thousands of teachers left their position in South Carolina classrooms at the end of last year. The report does show some positive trends, as well.

Each year CERRA studies the number of teachers that leave the classroom, how many teaching vacancies are across the state, and how many peole are entering the profession.

Steve Nuzum is a high school math teacher and member of SCforED, a networking group of thousands of educators advocating for change. Nuzum recapped the recent state of teacher retention in the state.

“We’ve had this steady downward trend really since the recession and every year we’ve had a few more teacher vacancies at the beginning of the year and unfortunately I think that trend has continued.”

At the end of the 2018-2019 school year more than 6500 teachers did not return to their positions and 555 teaching positions were left vacant across the state.

Sherry East, the president of the SC Education Assocation, explained the impact of those vacancies.

“Your classroom sizes is the first impact on the teacher and your kids because they’re sitting in an overcrowded classroom not getting the attention they need. And the second thing is you may not be able to certain things because you don’t have the teachers.”

The number of teachers not returning to their positions decreased from the 2017-2018 school year and more than 20% of those teachers went to another district, but data still shows work needs to be done to keep teachers in the field.

Steve Nuzum added, “It’s hard. It’s hard. And one of the things I discuss with our decision makers is that you’re not going to retain your most passionate people.”

South Carolina lawmakers, including Governor Henry McMaster, have been trying to address the teacher shortage. The governor is proposing a $3000 raise for all teachers in his executive budget.

The report shows that many first year teachers did not return and there was an increase in the number of teachers who left for personal reasons.

There was also an increase in the number of international teachers working in the state.