RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Last month, Richmond Public Schools announced they were facing a critical teacher shortage. With only two weeks left before the start of school, the situation seems to have marginally improved.
During a School Board meeting on Monday it was announced that 144 teacher vacancies still remain in the district after a month-long hiring campaign. On July 15, there were reportedly 209 teacher vacancies. As of Aug. 15, that number had been reduced to 148.
Superintendent Jason Kamras said that although there were still many vacancies, the district was expected to be ready in time for the start of the school year.
“We have made some progress,” Kamras said. “I do want to note that about 100 of those [vacancies] are already covered with long-term [substitute teachers].”
Kamras said he was optimistic that the remaining vacancies would be filled before the start of the school year through leveling and further hires in the coming weeks.
“So we do believe between long-term [substitute teachers], additional hires over the next two weeks and some leveling of positions that we will have every single class covered on the first day of school.”
As the school year proceeds, Kamras said new teachers will continue to be hired until the long-term substitute teachers are replaced by full-time teachers.
Progress has been made in addressing other staffing shortages in the district. In particular, filling key roles such as bus drivers, food service assistants and custodians have all made progress.
All bus driver positions have been filled — an impressive reduction from 18 vacancies this time last month. Kamras said that the district would continue to hire in order for contingencies.
In the last month, custodian vacancies had been reduced from 13 to two, and food service assistant vacancies had been reduced from 67 to 22.