TUSD teacher shortage prompts more hiring - Tucson News Now

TUSD teacher shortage prompts more hiring

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Unified School District is still looking to hire new teachers as it approaches the first day of school on Thursday.

Approximately 150 new teacher positions were announced last week, and a job fair was held at Catalina High School on Saturday in hopes of finding qualified teacher candidates.

School officials said they hired 20 new teachers from Saturday's fair and 15 more in the days since. That leaves approximately 125 positions still open, according to TUSD school officials.

The hiring push is a result of reducing class sizes. Previously, the teacher-to-student ratio was one to about 34; starting this year, the ratio is one teacher per 27 students.

TUSD Chief Human Resources Officer Anna Maiden said there are plans in place if the district cannot hire enough teachers by the first day.

"They have several out-of-classroom positions that help support the school -- mentors, coaches, learning support coordinators and counselors. So those individuals are certified and they can get into a classroom and cover until we can find a teacher," Maiden said.

Another alternative is bringing in substitute teachers.

School officials said teacher demand also depends on overall student enrollment. Currently, nearly 49,000 students are projected to enroll at TUSD on the first day.

Student enrollment will be reviewed on the 40th day after school beings, school officials said.

Those interested in applying for a teaching position can apply with TUSD online.

There are open teacher positions for all subjects and grades, with a particular demand for special education certification and middle school teachers.

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