BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Monday was the first day of school for several school systems across the area. Although the first day of school is seen as a fresh start, teacher shortages continue to plague many districts this 2022-2023 school year.

“We are still seeing an uptick in numbers, unfortunately,” said Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) President Dr. Tia Mills.

She said districts across the state are still having a difficult time recruiting enough teachers.

“Even with bringing in new educators, there were still in many districts a large amount of vacancies. Some of them with over a hundred.”

Mills said it boils down to a lack of support, appreciation and pay.

“We didn’t go into the profession for the pay that I mean, everyone knows that. However, at the same time, we didn’t go to this profession to be close to being in poverty,” she stated.

East Baton Rouge Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse said they’re already coming into the year with a deficit.

“We are normally our average has always been about 200 plus vacancies by the time we get to the school year has kind of been our average in a school year,” he said. “This year we’re about, for teachers, just under 78 right now, which has been huge for us.”

However, when looking at the EBR school system job site, it shows nearly 200 teacher vacancies as of Monday, Aug. 8.

To help fill the positions of districts like EBR they are calling instructional coaches back to the classrooms.

“Last week we had to make some tough calls to have coaches that we had. There were some of our math and literacy coaches and told them that they’d have to go back in and teach some classes and also coach at the same time,” said Dr. Narcisse.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to go to those measures. Are we appreciative that we have those individuals who took over those classes? Absolutely. However, I do know the importance of having an instructional coach, because those instructional coaches support the other educators on the campuses,” said Dr. Mills.

She said there needs to be better pay and incentives to bring educators back.

“Teachers are an extremely important part of the puzzle that we put together to ensure that our students are getting everything that they need. If they do not feel valued, then they are going to go somewhere where they are valued,” Dr. Mills explained.

BRProud reached out for clarification on the vacancy numbers for EBR Schools but have yet to hear back.