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RPS works to get teacher vacancies down after admitting HR ineffective

RICHMOND, Va. -- Issues in the Human Resources Department caused applications for 109 open teacher jobs in Richmond to be slowly processed, according to Richmond school leaders. Richmond's interim school superintendent made the announcement Monday night at a Richmond School Board meeting. The first day of school in Richmond is less than a month away.

Interim Superintendent Tom Kranz said there were plenty of applicants for the open teacher jobs, but the school system has been very slow at returning applicants' phone calls. He admitted the school system was not customer friendly.

CBS 6 contacted Richmond Public Schools about the process.

In an email, a Richmond Schools spokesperson said the HR department was responsible for contacting applicants for open teacher positions. She said they have brought in new leadership to the HR department and have implemented strategies to "hire and retain quality employees.”

Kranz said Monday they were working to get the number of vacancies down to zero.

There are teacher openings in other Central Virginia school districts.

Henrico County officials said they currently have 80 teacher openings, but since the district is one of the largest in the area, officials said that equates to approximately one opening per school in the county.

Hanover County has eight teacher openings, but leaders said all but one is the process of being filled.

Chesterfield County has 50 full-time and 4 part-time teachers positions open.

“School divisions really have to explore how they are going to get teachers in the classroom,” said Dr. Andrew Daire, Dean of the VCU School of Education. "Are they going to look at long term substitutes, folks who are provisionally licensed? There are a number of strategies the school divisions take to address that."

Dr. Daire said there is a teacher shortage statewide, not just in Central Virginia. He said vacancies impact each school district differently. Daire said educators are looking for ways to bring more people into the teacher pipeline so that divisions have more qualified applicants to fill open positions.

“I would say to that parent [of a student at a school with a teacher vacancy], we recognize that this is an issue, and it's all hands on deck,” Daire said.