Rapid City Area Schools are experiencing a hiring emergency for the 2023-24 school year
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Rapid City Area Schools are in urgent need of educators before the start of the 2023-24 school year.
According to the education news organization the74million.org, nationally, more than 36,000 full-time teacher positions are currently unfilled, and the Rapid City Area School District is no exception. RCAS is experiencing a hiring emergency with more than 160 vacant positions.
“I think that again as you have that pipeline of people entering the profession shrinking, it makes it really difficult to then pull new people in, and puts a lot of stress on the system to find alternative ways to deal with that,” said Coy Sasse, chief financial and operations officer for RCAS.
With shortages from teachers, to bus drivers, and everything in between, some positions have a more critical need than others. According to a press release from RCAS, there are 26 openings for elementary-certified teachers, 18 for certified special education teachers, plus a handful of middle and high school teachers are still needed.
“Certainly there are areas that are more critical than others, or areas where you can’t use your resources to cover some of those shorting staffages. For example you have to have a teacher in the classroom, you have to have a bus driver on the bus to drive the route. There are other areas where we can combine things, we can use our resources in a different way, and cover some of those gaps. But some areas are more critical than others to make sure that we have a person in that position,” said Sasse.
Sasse says the district has to start thinking outside the box and work on developing long term strategies to hopefully lessen this issue in the future, saying this isn’t a problem that is just going to go away.
“It is unlikely that we’ll be here next year having a totally different conversation. Hopefully its improved over that time period, but its going to take time to have solutions in place to make sure that this isn’t happening. Its really difficult to ask the community for patience while your dealing with this because, were dealing with their children, and that’s a really big deal to them,” continued Sasse.
Sasse also said he believes that fewer people are entering the teaching profession, which makes hiring new educators harder. He goes on to say this situation is a complex problem that doesn’t have easy solutions.
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