Superintendent Jara calls CCSD staffing shortage a ‘crisis’

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:44 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Will there be enough teachers to safely open all schools at the beginning of the school year? The Clark County School District has described its teacher shortage as critical and Thursday night, the school board discussed what can be done before August 8, the first day of school.

And the district needs to do a lot of hiring by then to fill open positions.

“We are dealing with a challenge and a crisis that has to be addressed and so this is to start the conversation,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara before a presentation on teacher vacancies.

“This is not just a Clark County issue, this is a state issue, this is a national issue,” Dr. Jara asserted.

The majority of schools in CCSD have teacher vacancies. According the district numbers, 26 schools in the district have more than 20% of their teaching positions open. Kelly Elementary has more than 40%. A majority of the schools with higher vacancy percentages are in areas with high African American and Hispanic populations.

“When you look at the heat map how do we incentivize where we have the greatest need for our students?” Dr. Jara questioned after the presentation.

Dr. Jara said the district is working with teachers’ unions to address the problem.

CCSD leaders said the district is doing several things to deal with the shortages including marketing a bump in starting teacher salaries. Some current teachers questioned that strategy.

“We can’t keep importing everyone here. We need to deal with what we have here and make that better,” said Jacqueline Williamson.

“One thing that has not been brought up is retention, it’s recruitment over retention. You have people that will work in the toughest schools in this school district... People will work for these schools if they are adequately treated and respected,” shared teacher Ryan Fromoltz.

Other educators questioned the district’s presentation saying it lacked data on the number of teachers who left this past school year.

“We are having a record exodus at a time when we have record vacancies,” argued Anna Binder.

A graph from independent group, Data Insight Partners, charts the number of teachers who have left CCSD in the past 6 school years, a red line representing the 2021-2022 school year showed a large drop at the beginning on 2022.

The district pledged to work on support and retention of existing staff and improving their working conditions. The district also said it is working on special incentives for teachers at those schools with the greatest need for more staff based on current vacancies.