Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times/Polaris
Students give a cheering welcome to new LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at John C. Fremont High School on Feb. 16 in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Unified is temporarily reassigning staff to 420 vacant classrooms across the district.

The move comes as part of Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s 100-day plan, which flagged the shortage of teachers as an issue he would address within the first few months as superintendent following his arrival in February.

LAUSD has successfully redeployed staff to half of the vacant positions flagged with the intention of finalizing all the reassignments by Friday, Carvalho said.

The staff will remain in those positions through the end of the school year, although Carvalho said there is still a possibility that the district will need to rely on temporary assignments for the beginning of the new school year.

LAUSD is redeploying staff who recently stepped outside the classroom, including interventionists, coaches and teachers on special assignments. The district has also frozen the movement of teachers into nonclassroom positions.

Carvalho said the district has tried as much as possible to avoid reassigning those who support the classroom environment, such as teachers from the literacy program Primary Promise, to avoid disrupting the full spectrum of teaching.

First priority for reassignment were those who recently vacated classroom positions but were still working at the same school, he said. Classrooms affected by the reassignments include both those with rotating and long-term substitutes.

“We needed to spring into action,” Carvalho told EdSource. “This was an issue that I had identified as a significant liability even before arriving in L.A. And it’s an issue we began working on early on. The solution to address a rather complex problem is rather simple. We began by looking inwardly, knowing that the job market right now is very tight.”

Districts across the country have struggled with a shortage of teachers that has only grown since the pandemic started in 2020, due in part to burnout. According to a report from nonprofit education research organization Learning Policy Institute, school districts across California have attempted to develop new hiring strategies, ease teacher workloads and increase teacher pay to navigate the shortage.

In LAUSD, the highest-need schools are impacted the most by the shortage, according to a report from the nonprofit Partnerships for Los Angeles Schools, which manages several schools in the district. The report recommended LAUSD limit hiring at low-need schools until highest-need schools are staffed as well as change working conditions and increase staffing support for highest-need schools. Carvalho acknowledged the need, saying the issue had to be approached from a lens of equity.

“The seriousness and the gravity of the problem is that vacancies across LAUSD are not equally distributed across all communities, all schools, all ZIP codes,” he said

Aside from the shortage in teachers, part of what’s led to the vacancies has been the creation of new positions meant to provide more support for students, which Carvalho said were filled at the expense of classroom positions. LAUSD opened 6,000 new positions last year, including positions for additional teachers, psychiatric social workers and school nurses, many of which remain unfilled. This summer, the district will aim to fill many of the vacant positions that resulted from the hiring spree.

“We will be backfilling these previously vacant positions with credentialed teachers to be able to release justifiable and absolutely necessary Primary Promise teachers, interventionists and other professionals,” Carvalho said. “What we will not go back to is credentialed teachers working as administrators in schools or being assigned to responsibilities that have, at best, an indirect impact on students.”

Sage Wells, a parent of a fifth grader at Mountain View Elementary School in Tujunga, said it’s been frustrating watching her son go through multiple substitute teachers since his original teacher left in October. She doesn’t know if his current substitute — his fourth teacher this year — will be replaced by a reassigned staff member. Though she understands the intention of the redeployments, Wells said she prefers they don’t happen considering how close it is to the end of the school year. She’d prefer stability.

“Honestly, they’re sad, they’re very sad,” Wells said. “Every time a teacher leaves, they get sad, and they cry. Psychologically, it’s devastating for them; they basically feel like nobody cares.”

United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz criticized the need for the redeployment in a statement, calling the situation proof that the district must do more for its teachers.

“The fact that LAUSD must resort to filling the vacancies in classrooms of teachers with district staff members only further underscores how critical it is that, after the toll of the pandemic, Superintendent Carvalho and LAUSD leaders do everything they can to attract and retain educators with better learning and teaching conditions,” she said.  “We need to support our students with stability and investment.”

Because the redeployment is temporary, the district did not have to negotiate with its labor partners to go through with it.

As LAUSD looks to fill the currently vacant classroom positions, Carvalho said the district will ramp up and diversify recruitment both locally and nationally as well as focus on improving the workplace, evaluating compensation and providing more opportunities for professional development to improve retention. The district is also engaging with its higher education partners to understand their needs and build a stronger pipeline of teachers.

“The rate of loss of students has been more aggressive than the rate of loss of staff, proportionately speaking,” Carvalho said. “We have an opportunity to actually realign, to a certain extent, our human resources to the new enrollment reality — that’s important.”

To get more reports like this one, click here to sign up for EdSource’s no-cost daily email on latest developments in education.

Share Article

Comments (7)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * *

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments. All comments are moderated for civility, relevance and other considerations. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

  1. Jennifer Cornwell 5 months ago5 months ago

    So many things wrong. First the deployment has not been successful. Some have been assigned to school more than 30 miles away from their home, assigned to teach a grade level they never have before, and only found out their assignment on Friday and were to start Monday morning. Also these are not people who are recently out of the classroom. Some have not taught in 10+ years and now are expected to learn things … Read More

    So many things wrong. First the deployment has not been successful. Some have been assigned to school more than 30 miles away from their home, assigned to teach a grade level they never have before, and only found out their assignment on Friday and were to start Monday morning.

    Also these are not people who are recently out of the classroom. Some have not taught in 10+ years and now are expected to learn things that are completely different than when they were last in the classroom, report grading systems, giving the high-stakes state test etc. This is not what is in the best interest of kids – it’s to save money! Don’t be fooled.

  2. John 5 months ago5 months ago

    You forgot the elephant in the room. Literally fired teachers for not taking the Covid vaccine including teacher assistants like me who are getting a degree this semester and wanted to teach in the fall! Literally ridiculous how all these websites fail to mention the hundreds of teachers who were let go and the ones who are forced to to teach online because they aren’t allowed on campus. A lot of classified staff work at … Read More

    You forgot the elephant in the room. Literally fired teachers for not taking the Covid vaccine including teacher assistants like me who are getting a degree this semester and wanted to teach in the fall! Literally ridiculous how all these websites fail to mention the hundreds of teachers who were let go and the ones who are forced to to teach online because they aren’t allowed on campus. A lot of classified staff work at schools before becoming teachers and I for one will never work for LAUSD even if they revert the stupid mandate.

  3. Vanessa Tapia 5 months ago5 months ago

    Hello, the issue is LAUSD is not willing to hire. I have applied and all they want to offer is a substitute. They need to hire people like me that want to work full time, not part-time or sub. Need to lower the ridiculous testing to be able to come on board.

  4. Rob 5 months ago5 months ago

    Truth is *most* of those coaches and support staff have little to no value for hard working teachers. It's a way for those who can't, don't want to teach , or are politically connected to get out the classroom and step up to admin. Their temporary deployment will not serve kids any better than a long term sub, heart not in it. LAUSD traditionally is one of the lower paying districts, especially for mid, … Read More

    Truth is *most* of those coaches and support staff have little to no value for hard working teachers. It’s a way for those who can’t, don’t want to teach , or are politically connected to get out the classroom and step up to admin. Their temporary deployment will not serve kids any better than a long term sub, heart not in it.

    LAUSD traditionally is one of the lower paying districts, especially for mid, senior teachers. Newer prospects of any intelligence know this and take the LAUSD job as a stepping stone. They will work the “highest needs” schools until they can get out. For stability, they’ll need to pay well for people to want these assignments over others. My wife works in a nearby district making that 20k extra. When she hears stories of abuse of staff by parents, admin, students and nothing done about it she’s very grateful not to be there.

  5. Jim 6 months ago6 months ago

    “The report recommended LAUSD limit hiring at low-need schools until highest-need schools are staffed.” Since most districts near LAUSD are also hiring won’t this just reduce the number of applicants accepting offers from LAUSD?

  6. Gerald Thurmond 6 months ago6 months ago

    Why is there a surplus of administrators, yet a deficit of teachers? What could fix that?

    Replies

    • Larry 4 months ago4 months ago

      There is so much corruption in this district... many "administrators" are failed teachers. Teachers who weren't very good, but had tenure. The district promotes many of them to 6-figure paid administrators - as long as they are willing to be "yes-men" and do whatever the district wants. I have never seen an administrator do 25% of what a teacher does every day. Worthless. Read More

      There is so much corruption in this district… many “administrators” are failed teachers. Teachers who weren’t very good, but had tenure. The district promotes many of them to 6-figure paid administrators – as long as they are willing to be “yes-men” and do whatever the district wants. I have never seen an administrator do 25% of what a teacher does every day. Worthless.