District faces teacher shortage
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 9, 2005

Roosevelt is down 40 instructors

Betty Reid

A south Phoenix school district in dire need of boosting its student achievement is short 40 instructors and is forced to rely on substitute teachers or combining classrooms.

Like other Valley districts, the Roosevelt School District is on the hunt for teachers. District officials said they will target students who will graduate this month from Arizona State University's College of Education.
The vice president's office for ASU's University School Partnerships, which Roosevelt officials say it is working with, could not be reached for comment Monday .

George Ortiz, Roosevelt certified specialist, is charged with filling the 40 vacant positions. Ortiz mailed invitations in late November to graduates to attend a job fair scheduled to be held Thursday at the district office.
Ortiz said he knew teachers are a hot commodity but was surprised to find out to what degree new instructors are not rushing to apply. He is already looking at other parts of the country to recruit instructors for the 2006 school year.

"We are thinking of recruiting in other areas of the country like the Northwest, where (school) budgets are experiencing shortfalls," Ortiz said.
"We also plan to look at Utah schools. We're definitely going to try to bring them here to Roosevelt. Maybe we'll lure them to (a) warmer climate."

He blamed the shortage on instructor retirement and attrition. A beginning teacher's salary is $33,332 at Roosevelt and could increase if applicants are certified to teach English language learner students.

Roosevelt, for now, is making adjustments at some campuses. Twenty-two students in a classroom without a teacher, for example, will be divided among five other instructors, said Perry Baker, a Roosevelt spokesman. That increases the teacher-to-student ratio in one classroom.

The district's average student-to-teacher ratio is 22 to 1, Baker said, though a class could go as high as 32 students depending on the grade.

Roosevelt has 21 schools with roughly 12,500 students.

Nine of the schools performed below average on Arizona Learns, the state's ranking of individual schools. One campus, Ignacio G. Conchos, is administered by the state because it performed poorly three years in a row since 2001, when state accountability kicked in.