WCSD facing teacher shortage

“There are more vacancies this year than in years past”
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:11 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Students headed back to the classroom this week and some schools are short staffed.

“There are more vacancies this year than in years past,” said WCSD Chief Human Resources Officer Emily Ellison.

Ellison says there are 61 openings and some are due to the pandemic.

“For an organization this size, it’s a relatively low vacancy rate.”

But some teachers say these unfilled positions put a strain on their classrooms.

“Other teachers are obviously picking up and having larger class sizes to deal with the number of students they have and the lack of teachers,” said Robert Munson, a Wooster High School teacher and treasurer for the Washoe Education Association.

Munson says retired teachers and substitues often fill these positions, but they are not always prepared for the job.

“A long term sub doesn’t always have a college degree, they don’t necessarily know the subject material,” said Munson.

Sometimes college students help fill full-time teaching positions.

“We’re looking at ways to fill those classrooms with a warm body,” Munson said.

Munson says many times retired teachers help fill positions in special education.

“We have two or three returning this year to help us out, otherwise there would not be teachers to work with those students,” he said.

Ellison says special education jobs make up about 40% of the district’s vacancies, followed closely by music. But they are hiring for positions across the board.

“We’re still committed to quality and making sure we have the right resources in those roles,” Ellison said.

For Munson, it comes down to funding. He says it’s hard to get teachers in the classroom when salaries don’t reflect the work they do.

That’s something Ellison can agree with.

“We’re also very supportive of the notion that our educators, in all of our positions, deserve to be compensated more,” she said.

To apply for a job with the Washoe County School District call 775-325-TEAM.

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