Tulsa Public Schools says nearly 350 teachers have left in the past school year.
Now, they’re desperate to replace them, plus the support staff they lost after the walkout.
Since January, TPS has hired 188 teachers, but they still need more than 150 others.
Not only are they trying to recruit teachers, they also desperately need bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians.
“You’re spread thin throughout the building,” said James Sevier.
Sevier is a custodian at Booker T who is working extra hours to get everything cleaned this summer because Tulsa Public Schools is short-staffed.
TPS Plant Operation Manager Brenda Royal says her people are working almost double time trying to get things ready for when students return.
Royal says that right now they need at least 27 full time custodians and 11 part time to get back to fully staffed.
“To have the extra people to lighten the load on them, they would be grateful and thankful for that,” she said.
TPS is also looking for 22 bus drivers, 51 cafeteria workers, 34 para-professionals, and 151 teachers. They say it’s especially difficult for them to recruit math, science, special education, and elementary school teachers.
“Elementary is generally where we have the highest number of vacancies every year,” said Coy Nesbitt, TPS director of talent management.
Nesbitt says the number one reason teachers cite for leaving is the pay, but he believes this year is different because of the walkout.
“It seems as though, this year, the encouragement that they will see this pay raise has caused lots of teachers to actually reconsider staying with the district,” he said.
Royal just hopes that people will start applying because every person, no matter what position they are doing, plays a crucial part in helping the district function.
“The teachers are important, but we are too,” she said. “We want to make sure the buildings are clean so they will be able to teach.”
TPS is hosting a job fair on Thursday, June 21st.