LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Kamee Sills’ son attends Watson Elementary in North Las Vegas. He is autistic and has other health problems and she says she often gets calls to pick him up since school started last month, as he gets overstimulated at times, which is hard for school staff to control.

“I have to deal with the consequences of my son not being able to be in school,” Sills, who has three children enrolled in the Clark County School District, said.

She said the principal told her Watson Elementary doesn’t have enough resources to accommodate her son who is under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

“I know there’s more single parents out there that need the help and the necessary resources, in order to help their children. You can’t tell me there’s not,” Sills said.

But there currently isn’t. Clark County schools are experiencing a teacher shortage similar to other school systems nationwide.

“To me, honestly, if you ask me. It’s kind of BS,” Sills said.

There are 320 special education teacher vacancies at CCSD, making up nearly one-fourth of the total vacancies.

Shortages are an issue central to the contract negotiations between CCSD and the Clark County Education Association on increasing teacher pay.

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara blames the current salary schedule.

“Not being compensated for their years of service. They’re not being compensated for their degrees. How is it fair when you have a schedule that pays a two- or three-year teacher, more money than somebody who has been in the district [longer]?” Jara said on Aug. 3.

Last week, CCEA Executive Director John Vellerdita told 8 News Now he believes the teacher vacancy rate is higher.

“We know that there are more than 1,200 vacancies because what the district isn’t telling the public is vacant positions now are being filled by substitutes. That’s not a full-time teacher in the classroom,” Vellardita said.

As for Sills, she hopes that within the debate over teacher pay the issues families like her face aren’t ignored.

CCSD issued a statement regarding what has transpired with Sills at Watson Elementary School:

We understand the increasing needs of our families while serving the growing number of children qualifying for special education services.  As we continue negotiating for a pay scale that reflects the value of our hard-working educators, our ongoing advocacy for licensed staff for all children remains a priority. 

The District will continue to provide support to our classrooms to ensure that all classrooms are staffed. 

In the event that the number of students requiring self-contained placement exceeds the number of seats currently available, the District will continue to look at options to ensure that students have a classroom based on their placement while ensuring that we are following the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA).