Day before first day of school, and OKCPS still needs teachers

OKLAHOMA CITY - Many kids are heading back to school this week, and several districts still have positions that need to be filled.

Oklahoma City Public Schools starts school on Wednesday. Superintendent Sean McDaniel said they still have openings.

Parmalee Elementary School has an opening for a special education teacher. Head Principal Michelle Lewis said the summer leading up to this was challenging.

"It has been a struggle, I will give you that. We did work all summer long to make sure those positions were filled," she said.

Lewis said finding qualified and devoted teachers and staff was hard, this coming after a historic teacher walkout.

"We did get some stuff out of the walkout, the teachers are getting a raise, we do have more resources," she said.

It's not the same for the entire district.

"We are at about a 98 percent staffing number, which is exceptional for a district our size, really for any district," McDaniel said.

McDaniel has been on the job for less than a year. He said, despite the growing number of positions filled, 98 percent just isn't 100 percent.

"Keep in mind the volume here, we're talking about large numbers of employees. Even a 2 percent leaves us about 50, 5-0 teachers short," he said.

This year, OKCPS will see 260 emergency certified teachers on staff.

"Honestly, we wish on one hand that we did not need emergency certifications, that our profession in Oklahoma was appealing, people wanted to come," McDaniel said.

District staff said they are confident they'll reach their staffing goal.

"We're still looking for quality teachers to fill vacant spots," McDaniel said.

The district still has openings for teachers, bilingual teacher assistants and bus drivers.