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Districts still filling teaching positions for coming school year

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof, | Posted - Aug 12th, 2014 @ 4:07pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As many parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school, some districts are in a rush to hire enough teachers to greet them, a district spokesperson says.

Salt Lake City School District is in the process of filling 28 positions that are vacant as a result of creating more teaching positions in an effort to reduce class sizes, an increase in the number of students, late resignations and the difficulty of filling some of the positions, according to Craig Ruesch, executive director of Human Resources.

About two-thirds of those positions are elementary school teaching positions, and the others are secondary level teaching positions. The district initially needed to fill 35 openings, and had 28 openings remaining as of Tuesday. At the beginning of most school years, the district typically has between 10 and 15 openings to fill.

Other districts are facing a similar last-minute rush to fill positions. Jordan District was fully staffed a year ago at this time. This year, it has upwards of 30 positions open, mostly in special education. Granite District was fully staffed a week ago, but a spokesman said this week, it has had nine positions open up.

Ruesch said the district always has challenges finding qualified educators to teach specific science classes — and particularly this year, middle school science — and math positions.

This year, the district is also trying to fill kindergarten positions after the district approved several new full-day kindergarten classes.

“It’s becoming a greater need all the time, and it makes such a difference to our early learners,” Ruesch said. “That full day kindergarten class, the bulk of those kindergarteners come out reading and writing and really well prepared for the first-grade year.”

He said he expects the district to be in a better position at the end of the week.

“It’s good to have lots of kids and opportunities to enhance the programs that we have,” he said.

Contributing: Becky Bruce

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