That number has been on a steady decline over the past few years, even as we hear more and more about the shortage of teachers. So what explains the local system's success?
Hard work and some ingenuity, certainly, and, perhaps, a kinder and gentler administration.
The system has put together a nice package for teachers who bring their skills to Robeson County that includes a $1,000 signing bonus and a 5 percent supplement. Richard Monroe, human resources specialist for the system and the point person for teacher recruitment, is also beating the bushes looking for special deals from merchants - and local governments - to dangle in front of recruits.
One of Monroe's efforts was rebuffed on Wednesday by the Lumberton City Council, which neglected to waive utility deposits for incoming teachers. Monroe had hoped that the city's waiver might help him with the same request from other municipalities, but the city worried about playing favorites.
We don't see this as a major setback, especially given the system's recent success, which is even more notable given that this county must overcome a well-known, but undeserved, image issue.
In recent years there has been a lot of negative talk about the previous administration and the school board and yes, much of it appeared in this very space. But we believe that while leadership is crucial, what's even more so is where the tire hits the road, and that's in the classroom.
Strong teachers in the classroom is the No. 1 thing that must happen if our children are going to get the best chance at the education they deserved. That is our school system's charge, finding these teachers and retaining them. It appears that the local system is meeting that challenge.