LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Teacher shortages continue in our community and across the nation.
The Clark County School District says it currently has 73 teacher openings and 99 percent of teacher positions are filled.
For the 2023-24 school year, CCSD is recruiting about 800 open teaching positions.
Some teachers say they're worried some of those positions won't get filled if things don't change.
"I'm seeing like my teacher colleagues burnout," said Jamie Tadrzynski. "I'm burnt out, you know, I go home and I'm exhausted."
Tadrzynski, a high school social studies teacher, says teachers are tired.
"We are having classes of 40 to 50 kids because there aren't enough teachers," she said. "And we see a lot of math and science vacancies and a lot of special ed vacancies, which are some of the most critically high areas for teachers."
Vicki Kreidel, an elementary school reading teacher and president of the National Education Association of Southern Nevada, says staffing shortages are having a wide-ranging impact in local schools.
"We're seeing behavior that's a result of different things that happened during COVID," said Kreidel. "Also less adult staff members in buildings makes a big difference. And also, we don't have the kind of support that we need for student mental health. you know, my school is over 700 students. We have one counselor."
She says the issues causing teachers not to stay are not being resolved.
"Pay is not high enough," said Kreidel. "There's a lot of behavioral issues and violence going on in school buildings, and it's becoming quite scary at a lot of our schools."
Last June, the CCSD School Board of Trustees voted to approve a new teacher starting salary of $50,000 to bring new teachers to the district.
Current educators were also provided a $5000 bonus, some saying bonuses are not enough.
Right now there are bills in the legislature looking to address student discipline, class sizes and teacher working conditions.
Kreidel says she's pushing for an initiative called "Time for 20."
"Time for 20 is following the example of states like New Mexico, who did a 20% increase for all educators across the entire state," she said. "And they also we want to bring support staff pay up to $20 an hour as a starting pay for support staff. And it's also dealing with reducing class sizes and limiting it to 20 students."
Tadrzynski says changes need to happen on the local level as well.
"We are looking to the state to enforce this, but ultimately it comes down to CCSD and negotiations and negotiating those better benefits for us," she said. "Right and it's pay. It's health care. It's class size. It is like working on teacher retention."
CCSD officials say with the increased starting salary for first year teachers, CCSD is confident the district will continue to be an attractive option for teachers graduating college this spring.
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