LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A major issue facing the Clark County School District is a shortage of teachers.
As CCSD works to address that, some wonder if it can help solve another big issue — overcrowding in classrooms.
Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara says the school district has the largest class sizes in the country, and it is going to take more than hiring full-time teachers to solve the overcrowding problem.
Meredith Freeman is the mother of twins. Her daughters are in 8th grade and familiar with packed classrooms prior to the pandemic.
“It definitely is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Freeman said. “I remember my kids starting classes where the first couple days of school, someone had to sit on the floor because there weren’t enough desks in the room.”
It is a situation the district knows not only impacts students, but also becomes a factor when hiring teacher candidates.
“I think our salary is competitive. I think the challenge is the class size,” Superintendent Jara said. “When you look at the classroom space, it’s a huge issue.”
Before solving that problem, the district wants to first fill all current teacher vacancies.
There are currently 269 as of last Wednesday — a significant decrease from the previous year.
“The beginning of the 2019-2020 school year I believe our reported number was approximately 761 classroom shortages,” said Nadine Jones — CCSD Chief Human Resources Officer. “This year at the very beginning of the year, we opened up with 409 classroom shortages.
District staff attribute the change to a lower attrition rate.
“Lack of other employment opportunities just with the downturn in the economy as a result of the pandemic, I believe more people chose to stay,”” Jones said.
The district wants to improve retention as well as recruitment — a step to eventually dealing with freeman’s and other concerns about overcrowding.
The district says the yearly shortage of teachers are primarily in the areas of elementary, special education, science and math.