More than 1,000 apply for few DeSoto teaching jobs
MANSFIELD, La.- More than 1,000 people have applied in recent months for a handful of available teaching jobs in the DeSoto Parish school system.
"We have more applications than we know what to do with," schools Superintendent Walter Lee said.
DeSoto Parish is the highest paying school system in the state. Beginning teacher pay tops $50,000.
Teachers - and all other school system employees - have received raises totaling $4,500 the past two years, along with thousands in supplement checks funded by excess sales tax revenue generated by the Haynesville Shale natural gas development.
The large number of job applications allows school personnel to be selective in hiring practices. The Times of Shreveport reports that 21 teachers were hired at Thursday's monthly board meeting. All but three are Louisiana certified.
Board member L.J. Mayweather Jr. objected to employing non-certified teachers, pointing to the many certified teachers who were overlooked.
Of the three, one was from out-of-state and two were listed as being in the teacher practitioner program. A practitioner typically has a bachelor's degree outside of the education field but is granted a temporary license while pursuing teacher certification.
Both practitioners were hired at Mansfield High at the recommendation of Principal Sedric Clark. "We could have stopped it," but the principal felt strongly about the applicants, Lee said.
Employment procedures have been strengthened, and "very few" non-certified teachers will be hired in the future, Lee responded.