School starts while teaching jobs remain unfilled - CBS46 News

School starts while teaching jobs remain unfilled

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson's largest school district is still trying to finish a large summer assignment: hire enough teachers. But Tucson Unified School District still has more than 100 teaching vacancies.

"I think we prepared the best we could, given the amount of teachers that are available in the market. The decrease from going to a 27-to-1 class size ratio increase the number of classroom vacancies we had to 195. In a regular school year, we would have had all of our positions filled," said TUSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Steve Holmes.

TUSD still has 125 teaching spots unfilled. It started with 195 spots to fill. It took on more positions when it reduced class size from 32 students per class to 27 per class. Smaller classes mean the district needs more teachers. That added another 70 positions to fill. And across Tucson, teachers are in short supply.

"We see teachers' longevity being much shorter than it was in the past and so that has created, I think, a greater demand. And, I don't believe the colleges of education are producing enough graduates who want to enter the field of education as well. So, we are having to turn to alternative means of certification or specifically looking out of state to find applicants," Holmes said.

Temporary solutions include using more substitutes, taking people who are certified and do not usually work in the classroom, and placing central administrators who are also certified in the classroom.

Sunnyside Unified School District had near 80 teaching jobs open last month. The total is now down to four and the first day there is next week. Certification costs around $1200 and starting pay ranging from $29,000 - $31,000 have been to blame at numerous districts.

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