LAS VEGAS – The Clark County School District is facing a teacher shortage, and it is affecting students with special needs, such as Kamee Sills’ son, who attends Watson Elementary in North Las Vegas. Sills’ son is autistic and has other health problems, and he often gets overstimulated, making it hard for school staff to control. Since school started last month, Sills has received calls to pick him up. Despite having an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the principal informed Sills that Watson Elementary doesn’t have enough resources to accommodate her son.
The shortage of special education teachers is central to the contract negotiations between CCSD and the Clark County Education Association on increasing teacher pay. There are currently 320 special education teacher vacancies at CCSD, making up nearly one-fourth of the total vacancies. CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara blames the current salary schedule for the shortage, stating that teachers are not being compensated for their years of service or degrees.
CCEA Executive Director John Vellerdita believes that the teacher vacancy rate is higher than reported, with more than 1,200 vacancies in total because vacant positions are being filled by substitutes.
Sills hopes that families like hers are not ignored in the ongoing debate over teacher pay. In response to Sills’ situation at Watson Elementary School, CCSD issued a statement saying that they understand the increasing needs of families with children qualifying for special education services and will continue to provide support to ensure that all classrooms are staffed. If the number of students requiring self-contained placement exceeds the number of seats currently available, the District will continue to look at options while ensuring compliance with the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA).
Credits: 8 News Now
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