EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – School districts in the borderland have been facing teachers and substitute shortage.

Fabens and Gadsden school district leaders say they’ve had to raise teacher pay and use administrators to fill in when a substitute or teacher is not available to teach.

Media specialist for the Fabens district, Sofia Maciel, says one administrator that she knows has had experience in teaching in the past.

“It doesn’t happen very often, and it’s very few and far between in instances. I think he told me he taught for 10 years and he’s been in administration for a few,” Maciel said.

As for Gadsden, recruiting substitute teachers for Santa Teresa, Chaparral and Gadsden high schools has not been a problem, Gadsden Independent Superintendent Travis Dempsey said.

“If so many teachers are out, we try to track that daily, and of course, our goal is 100 percent. But we’re holding at a high 90 percent to fill rate, which means we are able to fill subs in the majority of those situations,” Dempsey said.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools saw a peak of teacher shortage.

 “We were really struggling, and it’s always super specific math, science, bilingual. Those can be tough positions to fill without a doubt,” said Dempsey.

He added that they had to raise the minimum wage for educators in the district to provide rural districts a higher quality of education.

 “A little over a year ago, we were paying a little over 12 dollars an hour. We are up about 15.50 and that’s helped a lot,” Dempsey said.

Fabens, meanwhile has provided performance pay as high as $28,000 per year, providing a pathway for experienced teachers.

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