NAMPA – After a difficult year, the Nampa School District is losing about twice as many teachers this summer compared to years past.
"They no longer feel like this is a secure place to work or they can't afford to and there are other opportunities," said Kate Baker, a former teacher in the Nampa Scott District.
It's a serious issue that the district brought up Tuesday night at the school board meeting, and one that is likely to get worse in the next few weeks. The district says it will be able to higher for any and all vacant positions.
Baker says the teachers that are leaving don’t want to go, but there aren't really many options. And in a time when she normally would be preparing her English classroom at Columbia High, she instead is packing up.
"Those of us who are having to leave are sad about that," said Baker. "It's just really hard times. It feels like a family breaking apart.”
Baker says her colleagues love the Nampa District, but what's happening has forced them and her to look other places.
"Definitely the uncertainty of about what the future held for this district was a big factor, and deciding that I needed to see if there was another opportunity somewhere," said Baker.
Baker is just one of 119 teachers leaving the district. To give some perspective, 6 of the 8 English teachers at Nampa HS won't be coming back this fall.
“It's really kind of heartbreaking. I feel like our school has been decimated," said Baker.
Allison Westfall with the district says they are not overwhelmed by the significant increase in the number of teachers leaving.
"We do have qualified applicants coming in, folks from out of state, new teachers, people from other districts," said Westfall.
And those teachers will likely face similar struggles as teachers did last year. For example, a shortage of supplies made teaching a little difficult.
"If I wanted to print off an assignment for my students, I could do that maybe twice in the course of a semester," said Baker.
So Baker has accepted a job in the Meridian District as a librarian. In fact, the Meridian District has seen a noticeable increase in the number of applicants coming from the Nampa District.
With 14 furlough days likely in the future of Nampa teachers, Baker and the district think more teachers will leave before the beginning of the year.
"Just staggering, staggering turnover in terms of the number of teachers that are leaving," said Baker.
As for students, if parents are looking for other options, Vallivue and Caldwell do not accept students outside the district. Meridian and Boise districts do, but only if the school they want to attend has room.
Teachers in the Nampa School District have until July 19 to sign and return their contracts. Once the district knows how many teachers are returning they will know how many more teachers need to be hired.
Again, the district expects that number of 119 teachers to increase in the next two weeks, but has full confidence that it will have all teachers hired and in place when school starts.