LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Another Clark County School District Board of Trustees meeting attracted another round of angry public speakers who focused on the district's high teacher vacancy rate as a key issue that needs to be addressed before students return to class in the fall.
John Lujan taught for five decades around the world and said he was trying to get back into subbing at CCSD, but he worried district leadership didn't have a handle on solving a mass exodus of talent from schools.
"It's insane," Lujan said, "and it doesn't get any better, and it doesn't look like they have a plan."
Lujan and many others said pay in the district isn't competitive, and with violence rising at the end of the school year he feared a lack of staff could make students and staff less safe.
"That's why I wouldn't do middle school and high school," he said. "Those kids run rampant."
Trustees voted to label 14 positions including educators, counselors, and more as a "critical labor shortage" with around one in 10 workers leaving their jobs each year of the last two years.
Superintendent Jesus Jara acknowledged the problem of attrition in a message delivered to the trustees.
"It's one of the biggest burnout rates today," Jara said.
He blamed a number of factors including pandemic stress and a nationwide drop in labor participation across the board.
"There are jobs available," Jara said, "and not just in the classrooms and not in schools, but in the entire workforce as a whole."
District officials said 26 schools have a vacancy rate of over 20%, mainly in North Las Vegas.
Seventy-nine percent of the students in those schools were African American or Hispanic.
"We're dealing with a challenge and a crisis that needs to be addressed," Jara said.
The district laid out a plan to address staffing issues in the district including advertising their recent starting pay boost, exploring new certification pathways, and potentially providing incentives to new hires to work in the 26 schools where staff is most needed.