KINGWOOD — A Preston board of education member expressed hope last week that improved pay and benefits will help attract teachers.

Board Member Jack Keim counted the open positions on the board’s personnel agenda.

“There’s 22 [vacancies], if I counted right,” Keim said. “And it’s a shame, but I think we see what’s happening ... All these vacancies have basically been there since we posted them last year at the start of the year. To me, commonsense tells you you’ve got to do something to make sure you’ve got positions filled. And that means you’ve got to do something to make it attractive for a teacher to come here.”

Board President Crissy Estep noted, “The things that are filling aren’t classroom positions,” she noted, but coaching, tutors and similar positions.

Preston County Education Association President Cassandra Sisler said that the key to filling positions with certified teachers is to make West Virginia competitive in attracting and keeping those teachers.