ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Once again the state’s largest school district is trying to hire hundreds of teachers before the school year starts. Albuquerque Public Schools is ramping up their hiring efforts a little earlier this year to make it happen. “Because of COVID we want to be as proactive as possible,” says APS spokesperson, Monica Armenta.
For APS that means getting teachers in every classroom, “There is competition nationwide there are more teachers needed than there are teachers certified,” Armenta says.
In January the district had 12,023 active employees. Now they have 11,440 active employees, that number includes teachers that have resigned because they are on contract until August. right now there are nearly 800 job postings on the district’s website. “Teachers, bus drivers, custodians, social workers, everybody who works in a school or supports the school through the departments is in need right now,” Armenta says.
Armenta says they didn’t see a mass exodus of employees during the pandemic. But rather they’ve been dealing with a teacher shortage for about a decade. “We have people who move, we have people who get different jobs, people who become sick and for that reason we always have vacancies,” Armenta says
KRQE News 13 spoke with the district about their hiring efforts in September of 2019, at that time APS had 180 teacher openings. Since then, that number has more than doubled, the district now has 370 teacher openings.
Statewide, other districts offer cash bonuses for incoming teachers. APS says they are not offering incentives for new hires. They’re hoping an early recruitment push will make a difference. “This year we are giving an extra push early so that we can try to be prepared as we possibly can for full re-entry in the fall,” Armenta says.
The district says they are not requiring vaccinations for employment. The New Mexico Public Education Department says it is unlikely that teacher vaccinations will be required prior to the start of the fall semester.