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National Guard members to arrive in Las Cruces next week to help with substitute teacher shortage

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Las Cruces schoolchildren might see National Guard members in their classroom as soon as next week, according to the district.

"I'm really excited," said Jeff Spaletta, coordinator of human resources at Las Cruces Public Schools. "We're getting the help we need in education."

"This is an exciting opportunity to get trained substitutes in the classroom, and to also demonstrate to our students what service to our country looks like in times of crisis," said spokeswoman Kelly Jameson.

Facing a shortage across the state, the governor of New Mexico asked National Guard members and state employees to sign up as substitutes. She personally made headlines, joining Santa Fe Elementary School as a substitute kindergarten teacher this week.

“It was easier than managing a cabinet room for sure and legislature but complicated nonetheless… these are energetic kiddos,” Lujan Grisham said, as reported by KOAT.

Las Cruces Public Schools started the year with 129 substitutes to serve 42 schools across the district, according to human resources. Now, there are more than 700 substitutes across the district.

Still, there is a "big need" across the district, Spaletta said. The district's "fill rate" for classrooms without a teacher is about 75%. In the beginning of the year, he said it was only 35 - 40%. Pre-pandemic, the fill rate was 85 - 90%.

PAY RATE:

  • Substitute with bachelor's degree or higher
    • $150 on Mondays and Fridays
    • $125 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • Substitute with associate's degree or 60 college credits
    • $150 on Mondays and Fridays
    • $100 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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