Merced County schools struggling to fill teaching positions

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As students are slowly trickling back into the classroom, school districts are scrambling to find more teachers. The Merced County Office of Education says they're facing a shortage in their schools, and it's a problem that's widespread throughout the state. (KFSN)

Merced County schools are having a hard time finding qualified teachers. Some students will return to substitutes rather than regular teachers at school.

Merced County School officials say the problem dates back to the recession when teachers were being laid off. With a recovered economy, the school district says they still have positions they're trying to fill and are taking a new approach on how they recruit candidates.

As students are slowly trickling back into the classroom, school districts are scrambling to find more teachers. The Merced County Office of Education says they're facing a shortage in their schools, and it's a problem that's widespread throughout the state.

"When we don't have enough qualified teachers to fill those roles, it really impacts the student's education," Nathan Quevedo with the office said.

The MCOE they have about 5 percent of their teaching positions they're still trying to fill. Assistant superintendent Eva Chavez says the problem is simple - fewer students aren't seeking a career in teaching. Plus, the money isn't there, which equals less qualified teachers.

She says they're trying to catch up with the gap by hiring people to teach, even if that's not what they went to school to study.

"We might find somebody who was a biology major and then decided they don't want to go to med school, I want to start working," Chavez explained. "We might hire them as a science teacher. Well, that person didn't go to school to be a teacher, but there are ways to get them credentials."

A 2016 survey of 200 California school districts shows that 75 percent of districts were experiencing shortages. Chavez says the short term solution would be to hire substitute teachers rather than packing more kids into a classroom.

In the meantime, school officials are trying a new recruiting approach.

"We're trying to reach out to teachers and potential teachers to the places like social media," Quevedo explained. "Through other forms of online advertising."

Chavez says while the search is ongoing, they'll start the year with a substitute teacher until they fill the positions. Chavez says their schools are still in need of math, science, and special education teachers.

Anyone wanting to look for open positions can see a list on edjoin.org. Action News also spoke with the Merced City School District, and they had 20 positions to fill, and luckily, they were able to fill all of them before going into the new school year.

Related Topics:
educationmerced countyeducationteacherMerced
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