Routt County school district openings hard to come by | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County school district openings hard to come by

Zach Fridell

— Routt County school districts still are looking for good teachers, but with fewer positions to fill and an influx of applications, the odds of finding a teaching position in the county are slimmer than ever.

The Steamboat Springs School District, for example, is sending representatives to three job fairs across the state. But those efforts often are as much about marketing themselves for the future as they are about filling immediate needs.

“The number of applicants in the teaching pool is : extremely high. A lot are looking at alternative licensing,” Steamboat Springs Middle School Assistant Principal Jerry Buelter said.

He and middle school Principal Tim Bishop attended a job fair in Greeley on March 26, but because of a snowstorm, the fair was canceled midday.

Even during the first part of the day, Buelter said it was clear the supply outpaced the demand.

“There are a lot of people looking for work and, unfortunately, not a lot of districts looking for staff. We didn’t have a lot of staff openings this year, but we decided to go in the hopes of getting our name out there,” he said. “If we see candidates who have potential, we encourage them to apply so at least they’ll be a part of the application pool.”

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District Human Resources Director Anne Muhme said the number of open positions in the district won’t be clear until closer to the beginning of the 2009-10 school year because, per contract, teachers must give only 30 days notice if they don’t plan to return.

“A lot of paraprofessional folks decide on a different job over the summer. We won’t know until August,” she said.

That has not discouraged applicants either, Muhme said.

“At the (job fair) I went to, we had quite a bit of interest. We had applicants for positions we didn’t think we even have open.”

Muhme said the district typically fills 70 positions each year, but “it will probably be lower this year,” she said.

Steamboat Springs High School Assistant Principal Marty Lamansky plans to attend another job fair Wednesday at Colorado State University.

“Right now, we’re just getting a pool of general applications because we don’t know what we have to fill,” he said.

Hayden School District Superintendent Greg Rockhold said he has sent representatives to job fairs across the state, but he expects to fill just four teaching positions for the next school year.

He said one position at Hayden Middle School will not be filled because of budget cuts.

Lamansky said few members of his staff have shown any intention of leaving after this school year ends in June, and he expects there to be few spots to fill.

“It’s the economy,” he said.