KILLEEN, Texas — Last year, Killeen ISD was dealing with a big-time teacher shortage. All of Texas and the entire country has been handling a teacher shortage for some time.
Researchers site a number of issues as to why the country is experiencing this shortage. Killeen is the biggest school district in Central Texas with over 45,000 students, so they felt the brunt of the shortage earlier and more than other surrounding districts.
So, they had to get a little creative to try and fill in the gaps.
"We really were struck last year with the teacher shortage impacting us starting the school year last year with almost 256 vacancies just for classroom teachers," KISD Spokesperson Taina Maya says. "We are in much better shape this year than we were last year. But that was really all due to the creative efforts of not only our HR department but our board of trustees, our superintendents, and really the group as a whole at the district leaders taking feedback from employees."
The district provided virtual and in-person job fairs, offered stipends to teachers who referred employees, and raised the base teacher salary to encourage people to join the district.
Today, those 256 vacancies have been cut down to 60-65, but the district acknowledges there is still work to be done to get that number down to 0.
"We want people to enjoy being in the classroom again and have that feeling that drove them into it the first place," Maya said.