Jul 24, 2014 7:10 PM by Ashlea Bullington
The Lafayette Parish School System declared a critical shortage of classroom teachers Wednesday, to open the door to hire retirees in order to fill 40 vacant teacher positions in the school system.
Superintendent Pat Cooper said the move was necessary with the first day of school less than three weeks away.
"This allows us to waive the state law and hire certified and qualified retired teachers. We generally cant do that but we are getting so close we felt like we needed an insurance policy," Cooper said.
Openings are the following:
Three fifth grade elementary teachers
Three middle school science teachers
Two high school physical science teachers
Nine middle and high school math teachers
A high school chemistry teacher
Two middle school ELA or English 6-12 teachers
Nine openings requiring a SPED mild/moderate certification
Four high school social studies teachers
Three vocal music teachers
A opening requiring hearing impaired certification
High School Business teacher
SPED early interventionist certification
Cooper blamed ongoing budget battle as the reason for the shortage. The Lafayette Parish School Board still has not approved a budget, and its shortfall still stands at $7 million.
"People are scared. They look at the board meetings and they see there is not a budget passed they keep talking about rifts," he said. "Younger teachers need job security they don't want to come some place and think in a week they are going to be laid off or riffed. That's why when another job is available in another Parish versus Lafayette they are going to take it."
Cooper said the school district doesn't expect to fill all positions with retirees but he is relieved that they will be able to use the resource.
The board next meets on the budget at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday July 29th