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Many San Antonio school districts still need to hire teachers for the upcoming school year, but the range of vacancies varies. While Alamo Heights Independent School District has one unfilled position across its 6 schools, Northside Independent School District, which covers 119 schools in the northwest side of San Antonio, is looking to hire as many as 200 teachers and counselors.
Barry Perez, spokesman for Northside ISD, says that although this year is unique — since there's definitely more vacancies than previous years — it's common for districts to still have unfilled positions so close to the school doors opening in the fall. Perez added that the number of vacancies don't account for prospective teachers going through a "processing" period. This means teachers that are in any step of the application process from interviews to background checks are not accounted for in the numbers.
According to KSAT, San Antonio school districts are lacking educators because of retirement — and teachers simply quitting. Northside ISD officials said that their district is opening a new high school and middle school, which they believe could weigh into the shortages.
Perez told the Current he feels confident that the vacant spots will be filled for the fall but that school districts should keep an eye on the increasing number of vacancies. Unfilled positions are not specific to San Antonio but are, instead, a part of a growing trend that districts are noticing across the nation.
"There's this looming shortage we need to be mindful of," Perez said.
A 2016 national survey of college freshmen found that roughly 5 percent of college students planned to major in education, compared to a ten percent average found in the '90s. The survey found that 2015 and 2016 marked an all-time low for expected future teachers.
For now, school districts in San Antonio are tackling the issue of teacher shortages one year at a time.