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El Paso ISD, Ysleta ISD experience shortage of special education teachers

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

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El Paso schools are experiencing a shortage of special education teachers.

While the shortage of teachers has become an ongoing problem because of the pandemic, schools say the special education department has been hit the hardest.

“Those are our babies that have the most need so we need teachers in that classroom that have the ability to meet those needs and to get them to rise to that expectation and get them to rise to their level of ability,” said Bobbi Russell-Garcia, chief human capital management officer at the Ysleta Independent School District.

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CBS4 contacted the three largest school districts in El Paso about how many special education positions they had open.

El Paso Independent School District said it had 109 special education positions open.

Ysleta ISD reported less than 15 open positions in the special education department and the Socorro Independent School District did not respond.

“Our vacancies aren’t as significant as other districts and of course, I’m not saying we don’t have a need. There definitely is a need but thankfully we’re in a better mindset at this point due to our consolidations,” said Russell-Garcia.

YISD said it's working on enticing people to fill the vacancies.

“So what we’re having to do is really look internally and have teachers that are willing to take the special education test and get certified. We’re looking at that. We’re also looking at increasing our stipend for the next year hopefully once it goes to the board for approval,” said Russell-Garcia.

Russell-Garcia said it’s important that their students with some of the greatest needs for support aren’t left behind.

“None of our students are going without services or anything of that nature and what we’re looking at right now is preparation for the future so we can make sure for next year we have awesome teachers in the classroom to work with our kiddos,” said Russell Garcia.

Both YISD and EPISD said they are looking to fill the positions and working with local universities and certification programs to find highly trained candidates.

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