We're only two days into the school year and TPS says they only have three teacher vacancies in the entire district. That's about a 30% decrease from 2017.
"We started the year with l think I would guess, about 10 but we pulled people from the district office so last year I was one of those people," said TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist.
This year, TPS hired about 500 total teachers. A little less than 300 teachers are emergency certified. That includes people who returned from last year. Gist says 75 educators took part in a specialized program that provides intensive training and support for those without teaching qualifications.
"That is below what we hired last year so we lost fewer teachers this year then we lost last year which is a positive trend," said Gist.
Although she says this is a positive turn in the right direction, she acknowledges it is still tough being an educator in the state.
"If we had come off of the momentum of the legislative session and the teacher walkout and everything and been able to move directly into a recruitment with clarity about the raises that we would've been in much better shape than we were in this year," said Gist.
She added that more still needs to be done to restore money that’s been cut to public education.
"As a state, we need to not only continue focusing on continually increasing our teachers’ salaries,” said Gist. “But also, we need to talk about the rest of what we need to do to fund education.”
The positions TPS is looking to fill are a classroom teacher, a special education teacher and a teacher of English as a second language.
Regardless of the vacancies, TPS says they are making sure they have a certified teacher in every classroom.