In addition to teachers, the district is looking to hire teaching assistants, bus drivers, caretakers and more.
LEANDER, Texas — As the first day of school approaches, Leander ISD (LISD) still has dozens of teaching positions open that it is looking to fill.
As of August 8, Lisa Gibbs, executive director of talent acquisition and elemental support at Leander ISD, told KVUE that there are about 80 vacancies for teachers and about 80 vacancies for teaching assistants. She said that in her more than 30 years working at Leander ISD, she had never seen a shortage like this.
Gibbs said this teacher shortage is seen across the country, with many teachers leaving the profession. In Leander ISD in particular, they added students and lost teachers.
“So we’re seeing an increase in student numbers, and then we had the biggest turnover we’ve had in a while,” Gibbs said.
Leander ISD increased teacher salaries by 5% ahead of this school year to help pay teachers, but it still has many vacancies.
“So our biggest area is special education teachers, so we’re always looking for special education teachers,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said special education teachers are extremely important, which is why they’ve been trying to address this shortage internally as well.
“We have a ‘Grow Your Own’ program where we pay some of our teaching assistants who have a bachelor’s degree to become certified special education teachers through an alternative certification program. And we’ve got about 15 to 20 so far,” Gibbs said.
Until they get these teaching positions, they have to adjust their functioning. Gibbs said curriculum specialists and special education specialists will fulfill some classroom teacher roles. They also bring in retired teachers as long-term replacements.
“So, like, we have a teacher who quit a while ago and now she’s going to teach 70% of the day. And then we have someone else who is going to teach the 30%. So we just try to think outside the box and do things a little bit differently, so we have great teachers,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said their top priority is to ensure that strong, capable people fill those vacant teaching positions and that the community has stepped up to help.
The district is also looking to hire staff in transportation, child care, child nutrition services and other off-campus departments. According to Community Impact, vacancies on campus are at 345. They also need more substitute teachers to join their supply pool. They say that even if you are only available one day a month, they would gladly accept you as a replacement. Leander ISD told KVUE that they have increased pay across the district to include a minimum wage of $15/hr, a base wage of $20/hr for bus drivers, and a base wage of $115. /day for substitutes.
Community Impact reports that, based on district data, the number of available substitute teachers recently increased from 318 to 425. The district is aiming for 750 available substitute teachers by August 18.
The first day of school for LISD is August 17. To apply for a position, you can click here.
LISD is far from the only district in Texas facing staffing shortages. Lago Vista ISD recently said that if it doesn’t secure all the bus drivers it needs, it may have to change its bell schedule. Meanwhile, Austin Public Works is looking for crossing guards to help Austin ISD students get to class safely.
Round Rock ISD currently has nearly 200 teacher openings. Round Rock ISD has openings for 105 elementary teachers, 47 middle school teachers, and 45 high school teachers. The district also has 200 openings for support staff.
The Learning Policy Institute – a nonprofit, nonpartisan education research organization that has tracked teacher shortages for years – said many classrooms will not be adequately staffed at the start of the new year. school.
Research shows declining enrollment in teacher education programs, and the Learning Policy Institute said 90% of demand is caused by teachers leaving the profession.
Inadequate working conditions, support and compensation are among the reasons ex-teachers give for transitioning to other careers.
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