Written by Patricia Hawke for

Without students, there are no schools. Of course, amassing students without teachers doesn’t make a school either. This is the problem that Las Vegas Schools are currently facing. In fact, it is a problem they have had for a very long time. Las Vegas Schools have made a public plea. The Las Vegas Schools need 1,163 teachers to fill vacancies before the upcoming school year, beginning in August 2007. That is almost twice the number the district needed last year. If teachers aren’t hired to fill the gap, the district serving Las Vegas Schools will not have many options.
Las Vegas Schools will have to increase class size, meaning some teachers would have to teach second classes in addition to their normal work load. This would also take away valuable time needed for lesson planning.
The school district will have to find more teachers by using creative recruiting techniques. The number of applications is down by a third from last year, and Las Vegas Schools have almost twice the number of teaching positions still to fill.
The superintendent of Las Vegas Schools says hiring and keeping quality teachers are at the root of all of his educational initiatives. He claims to have done everything he can to attract teachers- even partnering with national programs. Teams of principals from several Las Vegas Schools are visiting cities that are downsizing their teaching staff. The hope is that the teams will get some ideas and valuable suggestions on how exactly the Las Vegas Schools district should go about the downsizing.
Many teachers choose other school systems in which to teach in part because of the $33,000 starting salary. Las Vegas Schools leaders want it to be at $40,000 to compete with other school districts in the country. The Las Vegas Schools superintendent would like lawmakers to raise taxes to increase teacher salaries.
No teacher worth their salt is in this profession for the money. Corny as it sounds, teachers (most of them at any rate) are teachers because they want to make a difference in a child’s life. Many have become teachers because they have been inspired by their own teachers, or want to be a part of the improvement of public education in this country. It is indeed incredibly rewarding to see the lights go on in a child’s eyes when he or she has grasped a difficult concept; it makes it all worthwhile. Teachers are teachers because they want to teach, end of discussion. However, they do have to live, eat, and sleep in safe and warm homes. Unfortunately, this costs money, and money is what Las Vegas Schools teachers need more of. The district has no hope of recruiting and retaining quality educators without ensuring, in part, a good salary to live on.
Hopefully, the leaders of Las Vegas Schools will take this need to heart and do everything they can to make their goals in regards to recruiting and retaining teachers a reality.