APS still down 200 teachers, retired teachers filling in as substitutes

Updated: 09/02/2014 5:11 PM | Created: 09/02/2014 4:57 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

ALBUQUERQUE -- Three weeks into the school year, Albuquerque Public Schools still need to hire more than 200 teachers.

The district says this happens every year, and that despite the shortage, students are still getting the education they deserve.

A grandparent of an APS student says he isn't surprised the district is still short.

"I think we really need to spend more money on our education system," Fook Lee said. "If it's affecting the teachers, what does it pour down to? Kids themselves."

The district still needs to hire 81 elementary school teachers, 15 middle school teachers, 21 high school teachers and 90 special education teachers.

"It's not unique to New Mexico, but I do think New Mexico has a hard time competing with other states because our starting salary is only $32,000 [a year] for teachers," said Karen Rudys, the Executive Director of Human Resources.

Rudys said the district is currently filling the vacancies with long-term substitutes, many of whom are retired teachers, until the district can hire permanent replacements.

"Often, we will keep the sub there to get the new teacher acclimated with the classroom, and introduce them to the students and provide them with the curriculum that the sub has already been working with, so the teacher has time to review the lesson plans and feel comfortable with the class," Rudys said.

The 200 vacancies are less than one percent of the district's total number of teachers, and the district says it doesn't expect to fill all of those positions.

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