Central Texas school districts discuss vacancies for upcoming school year amid pay raises

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 9:24 AM CDT
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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) - Several Central Texas school districts boosted pay for teachers, staff and administration for the upcoming school year, hoping that it would help the teacher shortage and incentivize employees to work at the school longer. As the districts approach a new school year, the pay raise affected vacancy numbers in different ways.

Copperas Cove ISD human resource certification facilitator, Ashley Vasquez-Solis, says the pay raise allowed the district to hire many experienced teachers. The district has about 25 teaching positions open, which is less than last year.

The district’s transportation department is also 100% staffed with bus drivers.

However, CCISD still needs educational aides.

“It is really crucial to have those additional paraprofessionals on campuses to help teachers and admin in so many different faucets,” Vasquez-Solis said.

The district said it is important for the teachers and staff to have extra assistance when needed.

“Having that extra assistance where you can have an aide come in and help students, a small group, one-on-one, it really is crucial to have those additional professionals on campuses to help teachers, admin in so many different facets,” Solis said.

This means the district requires more educational aides than others. However, CCISD also introduced a new program that opened a lot of positions for aides.

They started the “Rise” program, which will help educational aides with college tuition to pursue a teaching degree. The CCISD communications director, Wendy Sledd, says the district just started the program, awarding 25 educational aides with this opportunity.

The district is optimistic in finding enough aides before the school year begins.

Another school district experiencing a drop in vacancies is Waco ISD. While the district still has about 40 openings, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Daniel Lopez said vacancies are less than a year ago.

“We have a large number of vacancies, and so we’re sitting probably a little less than where we were last year,” Lopez said.

Lopez said he does not think Waco ISD’s pay raise influenced the number of vacancies too much, but he does look forward to compensating teachers and staff more.

About 75% of the vacancies are teacher positions, and the district is working on filling those openings first. However, Lopez said the district is still prioritizing hiring high-quality teachers.

“I think people understand that our district as others around us are trying our best to recruit high quality folks,” he said. “I think that’s the big piece is that, I think as a parent, I understand that there’s going to be a little bit of shortage, but we don’t just want a warm body in the classroom. We want a high-qualified person in that classroom.”

Waco ISD does have a plan if they do not fill positions before the first day of school. They plan to hire substitutes until they hire a teacher or combine smaller classes together.

Waco ISD job fairs are done for the summer, so they are using social media platforms and outreach to fill the positions.

Temple ISD currently has 10 open teaching positions, but the district has not noticed a difference in vacancies compared to last year, according to the chief communications and community relations officer.

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