by Kim Powell
"Our economy is probably the biggest reason that we're struggling," Mike Adkins, ECISD spokesperson, said.
"There's a lot of money in the oil field but it's not trickling down to the people who need it," Cruz Marquez, a teacher at Burleson Elementary, said.
The starting salary for a teacher is $44,000, but with housing prices skyrocketing, it's not only hard to get teachers to come here but it's also hard to get them to stay.
"We're having a hard time recruiting teachers in because they can't find a place to stay or they can't find an affordable place to stay," Adkins said.
With the lack of teachers, an even bigger problem is popping up in the classrooms--overcrowding.
"If there's not enough teachers, our students don't get the small class sizes or the more one-on-one that they need," Marquez said.
Typically, Kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms have a limit of 22 students, but for the older grades, class sizes are increasing each year.
"The bigger the classroom, the harder it is to manage the classroom," Marquez said. "It's getting harder and harder and harder for us because sometimes we don't have enough materials for all of our kids."
In an effort to hire more teachers, ECISD recently purchased a property that has 16 apartments that will be dedicated for teacher housing.
"Bottom line is, we have students coming. Whether or not we have enough teachers to get our class size that we want locally, the students are coming and they're going to be here on August 25," Adkins said.