MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — As a new school year is set to begin in the Eastern Panhandle, Berkeley County Superintendent Ron Stephens says there has  been a lot of staffing turnover over the last year

“Just since April Berkeley County has posted over 500 almost 600 hundred positions,” he said. “Some of that is attrition, some of it is growth, some of it is resignations.”

Stephens said since last year at this time they had hired on nearly 470 new people.

“170 of those were professional so a majority of those would be teachers.”

He said this summer alone there were a total of 79 new employees and 37 of those are substitutes who have never walked in a school building.

Berkeley County schools is the largest employer in the county with many of them home grown talents

“We employ of 3,500 full and part time people in Berkeley County with nearly 20,000 students, so that makes us the largest employer, and as I look out across the room at the employees who are getting ready to start the year out and our new, there’s 56 who were Berkley County graduates,” Stephens said.

Staffing shortages have been prevalent in the Eastern Panhandle especially when it comes to finding school bus drivers

“Our transportation department has been working diligently to fill all of those rolls,” he said. “In order to make sure students get to school we have bus drivers that will take on extra routes.”

Stephens reminded area motorists they could start seeing buses on the road Monday at 6:30 a.m.

“I think you’ll see the buses doing some test runs at the end of this week, you know they have to get the timing down and make sure that everything is appropriate, they’ll go by all the addresses that they have,” said Stephens.

You can hear our interview with Ron Stephens in its entirety here.