LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- This week, the Clark County School District announced they'd be canceling school for students this Friday and Tuesday in what they're calling a "five-day pause."
Amid the latest COVID-19 surge, district communications said the pause is due to an "extreme staffing shortage."
Despite this, highly educated, licensed teachers say they're being rejected from open teacher and substitute positions for unfair and undisclosed reasons.
"Three times in the last three years," Mark Robinson has applied for a job at CCSD. He was denied as many times.
"No one will answer me, no one will give me a reason why ... I've got 19 years teaching experience," said the local. "I've focused mainly on middle school science and social studies."
His resumé shows he has spent years as a teacher in Nevada and Arizona. He has a master's degree in education, and a current Nevada teaching license.
After taking a break from full-time teaching, he recently decided to apply for a CCSD teaching position.
"I've seen the issues that the CCSD has been going through, and I thought I'd toss my hat back in the ring," said Robinson.
But after submitting all the required documents, he said he was outwardly rejected with a letter that stated that his file is "not among those to receive further consideration."
They didn't tell him why. "They've never answered any of my emails as to why I'm not qualified, other than just saying that they have looked at my background, and that I am not qualified to be a teacher at CCSD," Robinson said. "And I have never had a black mark against me, no discipline issues."
"They were also saying that there was a bus driver shortage; that they would hire new people, help them get their CDL. And I could help out that way," he said. "And they, again, sent me a note saying that I'm not qualified. There's nothing on my driving record," he said.
But he's not the only one with frustrations.
Mary Marshall-Lang has a current Nevada teachers license. She has a bachelor's in education, and two master's degree from UNLV, one that is also in education. She applied to be a substitute teacher at CCSD in September.
"I become very passionate when I see the news stories about the teacher shortage," said Mashall-Lang. "This fall, I decided to apply to being a sub."
She provided three required references, and said she "received two glowing evaluations from two different supervisors."
However, there was an issue with one of them.
"The most recent supervisor, which would have been in October of 2019, no longer works there," said Marshall-Lang. "So, I gave the name of the Assistant Director of Financial Aid."
That's when a CCSD recruiter called her and said they did not get a response from him. "Our administration has requested that you input a reference from January 2019," the recruiter said.
This, she said, was followed by an email from human resources stating that her application has "missing information." She said because of this, she was rejected for the substitute position altogether.
"All because one reference didn't respond to their outreach?" we asked. "Correct. Absolutely, 100% correct," she responded.
"I am passionately wanting to be a teacher, and wanting that fourth grader to look up at me and say, 'Oh, I understand.' They're preventing me from experiencing that glory as a teacher. I will never experience that, because one person didn't send me their evaluation," she said.
FOX5 emailed CCSD communications six times in the last few months, asking for an interview with Chief HR officer Nadine Jones, and the request was ignored each time.
FOX5 received a statement Wednesday from district communications officials, however, stating this:
CCSD human resources staff work diligently to ensure that the application process is thorough and timely. District staff conduct criminal background checks on all applicants as well as verify work history, and reference checks as part of the application and hiring process. Additionally, staff review personnel files for applicants who have previously worked for the district. We must ensure that the individuals who are hired and entrusted to be around our students meet our standards by passing background checks, employment history verification, and that their previous employee status is confirmable. If an individual needs to follow up on their application, or if they would like their file to be reviewed, there is an appeal process that can be initiated by contacting their application specialist.