PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Local school districts are scrambling to fill open teaching positions before the start of classes. Pasco County Schools are holding two hiring events Wednesday.

George Papaemanuel is in charge of recruitment for the district.

“If you do the math, we have 96 schools, that’s approximately two openings per school. It’s just still too many,” he said.

According to Papaemanuel, there are 228 positions to fill before the kids are back on campus on August 10.

“They need to connect to that mother bird, they need to follow the protocol the first teacher sets that first day with boundaries and protocol, practices, routines and procedures so that we can get to the education and get to their minds,” he said.

The teacher shortage isn’t isolated to schools in Pasco County.

8 On Your Side reached out to other local districts. Leaders in Hillsborough are looking to fill 529 teacher vacancies, Pinellas has 142 open slots. All of these numbers are down from the same time last year.

According to Papaemanuel, principals have to get creative to fill any open positions on the first day of school. “They are recruiting from within, they are plugging holes, how they can with folks we call ‘professional guest teachers’ which are applicants who have college degrees but are not yet certified,” he said.

A tax referendum passed by Pasco County voters allows the school district to offer a competitive salary of $48,425 for first-year teachers, Papaemanuel said. They’re struggling to fill positions for elementary, special education, math and science teachers.

Wednesday’s hiring events are at James Marlowe Elementary and Gulf Trace Elementary schools from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.