Randy McIIwain, NBC 5 News
The Dallas Independent School District faces a shortage of summer school teachers this year. The school district is working on contingency plans since summer school begins Tuesday.
The Dallas school district says it is working on plans to deal with a teacher shortage for summer school.
The Dallas Independent School District is not quantifying how many teachers are needed for summer school, saying only that the need is real. Summer school begins Tuesday.
"The need is critical, but we're not pushing the panic button just yet," district spokesman Jon Dahlander said.
Administrators are already working on contingency plans to accommodate classes, he said.
"Some of the changes that we are considering is having larger class sizes," Dahlander said. "We had planned to have class sizes at about 16 to 18:1. It may be a little bit more than that."
Bilingual and secondary math teachers are among the most critical of the district's needs.
Abigale Vera, an eighth-grader who needs a course to move on to the ninth grade, needs a bilingual teacher.
"I don't know English that much," she said. "I know Spanish better."
Without the course, she could be forced to repeat, but her mother, Irma, said her daughter would rather drop out than repeat eighth grade.
Angela Davis, president of the National Education Association, a teachers group, said this is the first time in memory that the district has had a summer school teacher shortage.
"We've never had a shortage for summer school, never," said Davis, who blames the lack of interest in teaching summer school on administrative policies.
She said DISD teachers are so fed up with random pop evaluations in class that they have decided to pass on summer jobs that promise more money and fewer hours so they do not have to face more scrutiny and stress.
Davis said it is all a reflection on a sour relationship between teachers and DISD Superintendent Mike Miles.
DISD administrators met Thursday to address the teacher shortage and will continue to meet until Tuesday morning. So far, no decisions have been made about closing summer programs at some schools, and the district promises to be ready for the thousands of enrolled children.
"We're going to have summer school ready to go on Tuesday," Dahlander said. "It may not be quite the way that we had planned, but we'll be ready for your child."