Ask Joe: How can there be a teacher shortage & possible layoffs at WCSD?

From the Ask Joe file, we're looking into a question about possible teacher layoffs in the Washoe County School District.

Kimm wrote in to say she was watching our coverage about possible layoffs, and she wants to know what has changed since the district was having to hire subs because there was a teacher shortage recently.

I checked with Charles Rahn over at the school district about this.

First off, he says the district is not forecasting any teacher layoffs at this point in time. They do have a $30 million operating deficit, and they are hoping they can avoid layoff teachers. They say they are hopeful that through attrition they can eliminate the need to lay anybody off.

So there is a budget shortfall, but there is also an ongoing teacher shortage. Just this past year it was reported the district was short 150 teachers.

The district told me Wednesday that shortage is really for specific skills, such as special education. But earlier it had seemed to be more of an across the board shortage.

So it's an interesting challenge for the school district. A major shortfall financially, but from what the district is telling me they still have a teacher shortage. You would think those two wouldn't necessarily go together, but the school district insists that is the case right now.

A lot of this will come down to what lawmakers approve when the state budget gets finalized in Carson City.

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