SUWANEE -- Officials with Gwinnett County Public Schools have hired 175 teachers for the upcoming school year and could hire another 250 before the first day of school.
It's a decrease from the previous year's hire of 541 teachers.
Frances Davis, the district's chief human resources officer, told leaders during a board of education meeting Thursday that a lack of teachers to keep up with the population growth of Gwinnett County Public School students could make 2012-13 "the most difficult year ever."
"Our schools are hurting," Davis said. "I can't tell you this won't cut into the core business of what we do."
A conversation about the strains of doing more with less led into a somewhat heated dialogue over what Board Member Robert McClure said was a major lack of funding from the state.
Specifically, he said, funding from equalization and qualified basic education earnings have failed to keep up with local need.
"This was not part of our strategic plan ... it's wasn't our idea," McClure said. "It's totally a lack of financial resources."
McClure added that he was irritated by "those (at the state level) who voted to cut allocations to school districts, but have complained about the failures of public education."
Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks echoed McClure's remarks, denouncing "the state's plan to defund, privatize and dismantle public education."
He added that those teachers the district can afford to hire for the 2012-13 school year "will be well qualified."
Of the 175 teachers already hired, 70 are new hires, 102 are part-year rehires and three are retiree rehires.
Part-year hires are those who started last year after the first day of school.