The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Grant McGee
The Staff of The News 

School personnel shortages vary


Last updated 7/23/2022 at 11:12am

School personnel shortages of teachers, coaches, custodians and other positions are being experienced by school systems in varying degrees across the country, the state and include Clovis and Portales school systems.

A glance at the “Jobs” page on the website of Albuquerque Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, shows over 670 openings Friday.

Clovis Municipal Schools deputy superintendent of employee services Joe Strickland said the condition the school system is in now in terms of openings is “actually looking pretty good.”

“We’re not in a crisis mode,” Strickland said. “It’s less worrisome to me than in the past.”

The Clovis openings are listed on the “Careers” page of the school system’s website.

As of Friday, the CMS website listed a total of 75 openings; 24 of those are for teachers along with other openings for substitute teachers, custodians, coaching positions, sports positions, educational assistants, administrators and other openings.

Strickland said the teaching positions that have always been tough to maintain are Math, Science and Special Education.

“A typical turnover rate is about 10 percent,” Strickland said. “We’re at five percent.”

Strickland said a large portion of credit for low turnover goes to Superintendent Renee Russ who created an excellent environment, one that is supportive, fun and values teachers.

“We’re focusing on retention and valuing our teachers,” Strickland said. “This has made a difference.”

He said the increase in teachers’ salaries has been well received.

Portales superintendent of schools Johnnie Cain said Portales has seven openings: three teaching positions, one educational assistant, a cook, a food service delivery driver and a day care employee.

“I consider it concerning when you have three teacher positions open this close to the opening of the school year,” Cain said.

Cain believes the source of the problem is as simple as people are not out looking for jobs.

Cain said people can find a job anywhere they want now.

“The teacher pool is just not there,” Cain said.

What will Cain do if the jobs go unfilled?

Cain said some plans of action will be combining things to make the system work such as combining classes or making some schedule changes.

What sort of action plan is Cain employing to recruit personnel?

“We have openings posted on our website,” Cain said. “We advertise with the universities.”

Cain said for about the last 3 years Portales schools have had problems recruiting teachers.

One thing that strikes Cain is how even the raises offered don’t seem to be attracting teachers to the school system.

The raises came from this year’s state legislative session, “and they’re significant,” Cain said.

Cain said there were three levels of salaries for teachers depending on years of experience. A level one salary starts at $50,000, level two $60,000 and level three $70,000.


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