The Florida education system has seen an exodus of nearly half a million teachers over the past five years as the state’s schools have faced the biggest budget cut in its history.
And, in the last two years alone, the state has lost almost 3,300 teachers, according to a report released Thursday by the Florida Association of Educators.
In 2016, the last year for which the association provided data, the number of Florida teachers dropped by 4,700, a drop that was attributed to an increased number of people leaving for other jobs.
The number of public school teachers also fell by nearly 1,100.
The loss of teachers was the biggest single source of the statewide teacher shortage, said David Hays, president of the Florida Education Association.
And it’s not just Florida.
Nationwide, there are about 1.2 million public school employees.
The numbers for the state are far lower than they were five years ago.
Florida’s public schools reported a shortfall of about 2,700 teachers in 2016, down from 2,800 the year before, according the Florida Department of Education.
The numbers have dropped slightly since that year, and the state reported another year of teachers in the public schools, up from a year earlier.
But, as of the end of 2017, there were about 790,000 school-age students in Florida, up by about 40,000 from the year prior, according-to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
That’s up from an average of 6,100 students per school.
The decline in teachers is most pronounced in Broward County, home to Miami-Dade County, where nearly 60,000 students were enrolled in the school system last year, up more than 400 percent from the previous year.
And the county had the highest number of teachers leaving the system in the state, at almost 1,500.
The state reported an additional 1,300.
But the number who left the system last summer was a bit lower than that.
The department of education reported an estimated 1,800 new teachers left the Broward area over the last three months, compared with an average monthly loss of about 1,000 teachers.
The largest drops were reported in the Florida Keys, where the number dropped by about 1 percent from about 6,000 to 4,800.
But the population of the county is so small that the number dropping out of the system was smaller than the overall total.
While the state also lost nearly 1.5 million teachers in Florida from 2016 to 2017, that was mainly due to a decline in the number leaving the state from the state.
That decline has not happened since the start of the new school year.