Ector County ISD Addressing Teacher Shortage

Ector County ISD Addressing Teacher Shortage

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - ECISD is seeing a huge shortage of teachers. It's all because of the high cost of living in the Basin.

"Even though the oil drilling has kind of gone down a little bit the housing prices and rent have not corresponded with that decrease," said Kieth Garinger, the Chief Human Resources Officer for ECISD.

Last year, the Ector County School District was in need of nearly 100 teachers. They say that's a much larger shortage than they normally have, and next year there could even be higher numbers.

"Well next year is going to be a challenge even more of a challenge cause as many people are well aware we opened three new elementary schools," said Garinger.

That means 105 more teachers are needed, but that's not all.

"Our 9th graders went to the high school. Our 6th graders went to what we now call middle school," said Garinger.

Those changes will add on around 80 teacher positions, bringing the total to 185 on top of last years existing shortage of nearly 100 teachers. The district is also seeing a lot of retirements.

"Definitely the pressure is on," said Garinger.

But now summer recruiting is in full swing and ECISD is gearing up squash the high teacher shortage.

"Well we've really tried to increase our recruiting efforts. We're in the process of right now hiring about 30 people so it's just a continuous process throughout the summer to try and fill those positions," said Garinger.

ECISD does offer many incentives to bring teachers in like a $3,000 signing bonus, several stipends, and a competitive pay. But they tell NewsWest 9 high housing rates are still getting in the way.

"We're looking for other investments in terms of trying to increase the housing for our employees," said Garinger.

Now, ECISD said the biggest impact a teacher shortage brings is the need for a team effort within the school. That's of course due to a higher student-teacher ratio.