Editor’s note: This story has been updated after receiving further clarification from the Florida Department of Education.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In the lead up to the start of school and a statewide shortage of teachers, Florida passed new laws allowing military veterans to fill some of the vacancies in state classrooms.

While the vacancy count shrank from over 5,000 to about 4,400 by Sept. 1, the Florida Department of Education is now reporting over 700 positions were filled after the vacancies reported in early September.

The Florida Board of Education approved the certification program for veterans at their Aug. 17 board meeting, allowing Senate Bill 896 to be enacted and for military veterans to apply for temporary teaching certification.

State data from the Day 1 Vacancy report, which details the exact number of open teaching positions in Florida, reported 5,208 vacancies had shrank to 4,442, with 766 positions having been filled from the start of the school year.

As described by the state board of education, “the bill creates a new pathway for military veterans to obtain educator certification in Florida and removes the requirement for military reservists to document active duty for the military waiver.”

Now we know that military veterans have applied to be certified to teach through the Florida Military Veterans Certification Pathway. The program took effect July 1. Qualified veterans who are still working on earning their bachelor’s degrees are able to apply for and receive a 5-year temporary teaching certificate in order to help fill vacancies across the K-12 school system.

“As of Sept. 22, 392 veterans have applied to take advantage of the Military Veterans Certification Pathway,” an FDOE spokesperson told WFLA.com. “Certification applications for this pathway are in line to be reviewed just like all other applications the Bureau of Educator Certification receives.”

Previously, FDOE told WFLA that there were about 185,000 teachers in the state, making the vacancies account for “approximately 2.4%” of the overall positions. Comparing school districts across Florida, WFLA found there were close to 2,000 open teaching positions in the Tampa Bay area.

Most were in Hillsborough County, one of the largest school districts in the country.

FDOE said previously they would “continue to work diligently to support Florida’s teaching needs with a focus on proactively working with superintendents on a case-by-case basis.” With over 760 openings filled since the Sept. 1 vacancy report, it appears state recruitment efforts are having some effect.

Every Florida county’s teacher and staff vacancies are listed below, as of Sept. 1.

CountyPre-K to 5th: 6th to 8th: 9th to 12th: Total:
Alachua County243532
Baker County1321025
Bay County25111147
Bradford County5139
Brevard County1025925156
Broward County393037106
Calhoun County0202
Charlotte County149528
Citrus County1292041
Clay County14241250
Collier County25251161
Columbia County4228
DeSoto County812727
Dixie County53412
Duval County22510082407
Escambia County3725870
Flagler County1581336
Florida A&M University4105
Florida Atlantic University0000
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind0033
Florida State University0011
Florida Virtual School0099
Franklin County42612
Gadsden County2416444
Gilchrist County4059
Glades County2226
Gulf County2002
Hamilton County3025
Hardee County81211
Hendry County713626
Hernando County503919108
Highlands County48181682
Hillsborough County372199120691
Holmes County211114
Indian River County1071027
Jackson County1124
Jefferson County0000
Lafayette County0000
Lake County4511565
Lee County1135529198
Leon County141318
Levy County1001424
Liberty County0202
Madison County3216
Manatee County4815972
Marion County704936155
Martin County31101960
Miami-Dade County16474106344
Monroe County117624
Nassau County87621
Okaloosa County2311640
Okeechobee County1010424
Orange County513917107
Osceola County984994241
Palm Beach County131113140384
Pasco County19210269363
Pinellas County613725123
Polk County876951216
Putnam County154524
Santa Rosa County42111573
Sarasota County27212775
Seminole County157224
St. Johns County21192363
St. Lucie County22812
Sumter County4149
Suwannee County4138
Taylor County1405
Union County0222
University of Florida0010
Volusia County695445168
Wakulla County125421
Walton County2851447
Washington County44614
(Source: Florida Department of Education)