ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Now hiring, that’s the motor for Albuquerque Public Schools.
The district held a job fair Wednesday, looking to fill 330 open teaching jobs, a number higher than normal. But APS says the larger the teaching staff, the smaller the class sizes.
“I just wanted to see what this is all about,” Victoria Haney said. “I’m just looking to find an elementary education position.”
Of the 330 jobs, 130 are for special education.
“We just never have enough people to fill all those slots,” APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said.
But APS isn’t sounding the alarm just yet.
“According to (Human Resources), at this time, we are about where we usually are with a few more teacher positions open than most years,” Armenta said.
This year’s budget allows for 50 to 80 new teaching positions
That’s on top of the spots opening up from retirements and resignations, numbers that keep going up. As of May, those two combined left 575 open jobs.
The goal is to reduce class sizes by two percent. APS is optimistic this job fair, the first one in four years, will help.
“We adjust the number of teachers we have based on enrollment which again, you really don’t know until you get in the classroom,” Armenta said.
Not everyone thinks it’s going to be easy, though.
“There are a lot more people with a teaching license than there are people willing to use their license,” Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation said.
“We need to focus on making teaching an attractive profession again.”
Bernstein says teacher evaluations, the same ones that’ve been criticized by some and praised by others, play a big role.
“Teachers tell me every day that they are leaving, either resigning or retiring, because of the punitive teacher evaluation system,” Bernstein said
Armenta says she has no evidence one way or another that evaluations are to blame more vacancies.
Regardless, many seem eager to get to work.
“It’s a big community and I just can’t wait to be a part of it,” Haney said.
APS is also hiring nurses, counselors and substitute teachers.
Classes for APS students start back up on August 13, 2014.
Depending on the need, APS says there could be another job fair next year.