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Aug 22, 2013 10:39 AM by Ryan Haarer

Vacant teaching spots at TUSD leave some students with unqualified substitutes

TUCSON- Nearly one month into school dozens of teaching positions at TUSD have not been filled. That means many classes are being taught by substitutes not necessarily fit for the job.

Many of those positions are in core classes like math and science. TUSD has seemingly not had any qualified applicants and some say the district just isn't attractive enough to teachers looking for a job

At Rincon High School, junior, Akili Glass, started the year in honors algebra II with a substitute because the teaching position hasn't been filled.

"We felt like he was a great guy but he could not teach, whatsoever. And, all the students were completely unhappy about it," said Glass.

That teacher left and now, just three weeks into the school year, Akili is on her second substitute.

"I feel really behind. And, me being an AP student I don't like feeling behind on work."

TUSD's school rating improved slightly this year but 16 schools still received a "D" rating from the state. So, for some these positions currently held by substitutes are a cause for concern.

"We're really concerned about student achievement when we have substitutes. Especially in those core classes," said Frances Banales, President of the Tucson Education Association.

She says some of the positions have been filled. TUSD's website shows there are 74 teaching positions still available.

"I think it's going to take the adjustment of the pay scale, we've got to be attractive, and the support systems. We need to put support systems where people really feel valued and supported in this district," said Banales.

In the meantime some students will have to deal with what some of them say is a lack of planning and busy work handed out by a shorthanded district.

News 4 has reached out to TUSD several times for either an interview or a statement on the claim there is a lack of capable teachers. The district spokesperson has not given News 4 any feedback.

As for Akili, she says her new substitute seems more in tune with the lesson plan and thinks she will be able to catch up.

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