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Texoma schools experiencing effects of teacher shortages

COVID -19 turnover rates and less college students choosing to enter the education field
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - As the summer break starts to come to an end, students and teachers are getting ready to head back into the classrooms over the next few weeks.

Some Texoma school districts are worried about if they will even have enough teachers for their classrooms.

Jeff Bryd, Superintendent in Vernon ISD, and Carrie Allen, Assistant Superintendent in City View ISD, both said they are on two different ends of the teacher shortage spectrum.

“28 years ago I got into this business, every job I interviewed, they interviewed me today. When the superintendent, principal and athletic director, they interview staff members we’re not interviewing them, they’re interviewing us,” said Byrd.

Byrd said with a body of almost 2,000 students spread across their six campuses, they are in need of 15 additional teachers.

“Really, there a two fields that we are looking for that. We are desperate for teachers, in one we are short in the elementary levels, we’re desperate for English language arts teachers in the high school levels, it fluctuates,” said Byrd.

Between increased turnover rates due to COVID-19, less college students choosing to enter the education field, and now having to pay into the teachers’ retirement fund, it’s a situation that has proven to be difficult to some districts.

“If you hire a retired teacher, the district has to pay the 15 percent surcharge which is going to come out to about $17,000 more for every certified retired teacher. However, it’s more difficult to help a younger teacher get certified through an alternate certification program, they only get one year to be in that program and get their certification done,” said Byrd.

Superintendents in schools districts like City View said they will be fully staffed come this fall school year thanks to budgeting and using federal funds toward teacher benefits that other districts may not be able to offer.

“We knew we were having some teachers retire so we started looking as early as January to be able to fill those positions. We also pay 100 percent of teachers’ insurance and we also offer a 43B for retirement,” said Allen.

While they are thankful to have each and every one of the 70 teachers on staff, they know they could be facing the very same issue other Texas districts are right now.

“We also know that staffing is kind of always an ongoing thing. You have family emergencies that come up, you have sickness, we’re not getting too comfortable and we always have our ear to the ground,” said Allen.

Byrd said they are still hoping to fill those position by the beginning of this school year. To find out more information, visit the Vernon ISD website.

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