Jeff Davis School Board declares critical shortage for several positions

Published 8:14 am Friday, January 21, 2022

JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish School Board is having a hard time finding qualified teachers and support personnel, according to Superintendent Kirk Credeur.

The School Board on Thursday declared a critical shortage in several classroom and support personnel positions for the 2021-2022 school year.

Credeur said it is routine to declare critical shortages when the district is having a difficult time finding certified personnel for the hard to fill positions. However, he said the list of critical shortages appears to be growing every year.

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“One of the sad things about this is if you look, it’s getting larger and larger every year on what is considered a critical shortage,” he said. “There was a time when there were only two or three things that were considered critical shortage, like special ed teachers, counselors and high school math and science, but it’s just going to things that were traditionally never critical shortage.”

Among the positions, the district is having trouble hiring certified and qualified math, science, English, Social Studies, business education, Spanish and French instructors as well as  special education teachers, speech therapist/pathologist, bus drivers, counselors and administrators.

“It is becoming a crisis right now with correctly certified teachers and their availability and the state still doesn’t seem to be hearing our pleas for some assistance,” he said.

The declaration of a critical shortage will allow the district to fill the positions and reimburse teachers for seeking certification in those areas, Credeur said.

“As we have done every year we have identified the critical shortage,” Credeur said. “At one time it was very important to do that because the state did allow some people to retire and be rehired and come back in a critical shortage area.“

Although the state has eliminated the practice, the parish continues to identify critical shortage areas because funds are available to help pay for college courses for those going back to try to get certification, he said.

The parish pays up to $500 per reimbursement per completed college course based on a priority list with first come, first served.

“We identify those critical shortage areas so we can pay for some of those college courses so they can get certified in these areas,” Credeur said.