Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday authorized emergency regulations designed to ease Nevada’s teacher shortage.
Interim Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero said the emergency rules will allow his office to issue provisional licenses to teachers letting them take jobs in Nevada before they are licensed here. He said the rules will give teachers in good standing in other states a full year to pass the requirements for a Nevada license.
“Nevada’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the nation, largely contributing to our dynamic population growth,” Sandoval said. “This emergency authorization capitalizes on that growth in a positive way and will specifically help the Clark County School District with its out of state teacher recruitment.”
The teacher shortage is most acute in Clark County, which needs 700 more teachers, but also affects counties including Carson, Washoe and Nye.
Carson City Schools Superintendent Richard Stokes said it will be especially helpful in recruiting hard to fill specialties such as math and special education.
“Math and special ed are areas of huge need,” he said. “We’re always looking for them.”
Stokes said Carson over the course of this year has had a total of 19 long-term substitute teachers.
“Being able to get licensed qualified people in our system without a lot of hassle for them is a win-win,” he said.
Asked why the state didn’t do this at the start of the school year, Canavero agreed it would have been much more beneficial earlier when Clark officials say they could have hired 400 out-of-state applicants.
But Canavero said until the new federal education law was signed, hiring provisional teachers could have jeopardized the state’s federal education funding. In Nevada, he said that could have meant the loss of $120 million in Title 1 money.
But effective Jan. 1, the federal law changed to permit states to hire otherwise qualified teachers before they get a state license here and give them that year to meet Nevada licensing requirements.
He said for some teachers that might mean taking just one class — the Nevada Constitution.
He said while the focus is on Clark County where the district is 700 teachers short, the new rules could be important in some rural areas where just one or two hires would make a big difference.
The emergency rules take effect immediately and apply to teachers already licensed in other states but not to lay people who want to teach.
Canavero said the process of making the regulations permanent will begin immediately.