Tulsa Schools Struggling To Fill 90 Teaching Jobs

Tuesday, August 6th 2013, 6:09 pm

Only 11 weekdays to go before the start of classes and Tulsa Public Schools is short on teachers. There are 90 positions open right now, and the District hopes to fill them all, even if it's not by before the first bell rings.

Elementary Principal Lynnette Dixon is spending a lot of time on the phone these days, trying to get teachers in for job interviews. She needs five more teachers right away, and she's competing against other schools to hire them.

"I did interview a special ed teacher yesterday. She had four other principals to meet with throughout the district, so I'm waiting to hear from her," said McKinley Elementary School Principal Lynnette Dixon.

Dixon is hopeful she can fill the positions. She was able to do that last year, but every year it's a struggle, especially for elementary schools, where more teachers are needed.

"But it's very difficult to try to hire someone two weeks before the start of school," she said.

8/5/2013 Related Story: TPS Working To Complete School Remodel Before Classes Start

TPS has 90 open teaching positions, with just over two weeks before the start of school.

"And that's about par with what we had last year, and it took us three weeks to get fully staffed," said Talia Shaull, TPS Human Capital.

Shaull says one problem is that teachers will sign contracts, then back out right before the start of classes. The district doesn't enforce the contract on individuals who want to leave.

"Even though they sign a contract and we got contracts out before the end of school this year, and we require them to sign them by mid-June, they have the right to go elsewhere and look for another job in another district," she said.

Back at McKinley, Principal Dixon was working the phones and checking the computer for new applicants. She found one who had applied less than hour before, and called her in for an interview.

And one of her long-time teachers retired Tuesday morning with no prior notice. They can do that, but that created another spot the principal now has to fill.