LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Clark County School District is starting the school year with more than 700 teacher openings -- one of the biggest shortages in recent years.
The last time CCSD saw this many teacher openings on the first day of school was in 2014. Teachers told FOX5 the shortage puts a strain on them and their students are taking notice.
“Special ed has over 150 openings right now on the CCSD website,” teacher Ryan Fromoltz said. “This is nothing new. Last year we had a couple hundred. 2014, we were looking at about 800 teacher openings. It just means bigger class sizes.”
That means come Monday morning, many of those classrooms may have too many students, not enough desks and chairs, and in some cases, no permanent teacher.
“We don't have enough subs, they ask if you can sub and they'll pay you,” teacher Maria Zuniga said. “A lot of kids feel it's not even worth coming to school, putting in any effort. It doesn't matter what I do, they're still going to pass me because it's just a long-term sub.”
“They have to have just pretty much a warm body,” Fromoltz said. “If they're able to teach more power to them, but for a lot of schools they just have to find a body and that impacts the kids.”
Both Zuniga and Fromoltz teach at Canyon Springs High School. They said sometimes they have to sub for another class during what is supposed to be their break time.
“We are essentially selling our prep time to teach another course,” Zuniga said.
Teachers said they need more support from the district and the state.
“We had teachers leave because they just weren't happy,” Fromoltz said. “Morale is one of the biggest issues facing teachers right now.”
CCEA called this year’s shortage a crisis.
“To put it into context, that's 32,000 kids going into classroom they're not going to find full time teacher,” CCEA Executive Director John Vellardita said.
The union said most of the openings are at Title One schools, which also have the highest number of students at risk.
“I will say superintendent has taken action,” Vellardita said. “He's said all licensed professionals out of the classroom will be in the classroom Monday. That's a good first step but it's only temporary. It's not a long-term solution.”
In CCSD’s Focus 2024 plan, the school district lists teacher recruitment and retention as one of its top priorities.