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Utah schools have dozens of openings before school starts

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13 2014 5:30 p.m. MDT

Some Utah school districts are finding themselves scrambling to make last-minute hires, just days before the school year begins.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah school districts are struggling to fill all their teaching positions with just days before the new school year begins.

The Salt Lake City School District finds itself with about double the number of openings it would normally have at this time of year. Human Resources director Craig Ruesch said in a typical year, two weeks out from the first day, 10 to 15 openings would be expected.

Earlier this week there were 35 openings, although the situation was improving.

"As of today, we have 28 opens, with several requests-to-hire to process today, so we're making good progress," Ruesch said Wednesday.

In Salt Lake City, Ruesch says two-thirds of the openings are in elementary school positions. He says a bump in enrollment, a school board directive to reduce class sizes and the expansion of full-day kindergarten has combined to exacerbate the hiring need.

"It makes such a difference for our early learners, that full-day kindergarten class," Ruesch said. "The bulk of those kindergarteners will be coming out of kindergarten reading and writing and really well prepared for the first grade year."

The Jordan School District also has about 30 openings, although a district official said those are distributed mostly between special education and secondary education positions.

The Granite School District is also in need of teacher hires, but is only looking for about nine. District spokesman Ben Horsley says most of the hires they need to make are for specialized positions, complicated by a shortage in their hiring pool.

Email: bbruce@deseretnews.com

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