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CLEVELAND --43 days into the Cleveland Metropolitan school year, and for some it's been43 days without teachers.

"Why should me as a preacher, parents and folks for the common good have to come to talk to the school board about having a teacher in a school? That just doesn't make sense to us," said one gentlemen who attended Tuesday's school board meeting to discuss the district's hiring problems.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon says it's the district is doing 'significant hiring' for the first time in 15 years, and it's going well, but incomplete.

The district still has 84 open positions, including 20 percent of the positions at investment school, John Adams High.

"The process is long because we don't enough candidates who want to work in John Adams High School. And we need to find more candidates," saidGordon, at the meeting.

"It's a farse. The fact that there's no teachers out there, that's not true," said Kathy Cross, aformer CMSD elementary teacher who was laid off in 2011.

Cross reached out to Channel 3 News to tell her story. In September, she interviewed to fill an open spot and passed the pre-screening tests, and was selected by a principal. Thenhumanresources wrote her to say she wouldn't be hired.

"I wanted to teach in Cleveland. I wanted to go back, and for whatever reason, and they won't tell me the reason, they didn't give me a reason," said Cross.


With 20 years in a classroom, Cross thinks her qualification may be what killed her application and those of others.

"Because they don't want teachers with experience. They want teachers who don't have any experience. It's a money thing," she said. "Is that how a good business does their hiring?"

"You have to do what's best for the kids, and I just don't see that happening."

Here's the full response from Gordon, released to Channel 3 News in a statement:

This school year, the District needed 2,784 teachers to staff its classrooms, including 1,864 K-8 Teachers and 920 High School Teachers, Gordon said. "This is the first time in 15 years that CMSD has done any significant hiring, and the process has been further influenced by the resignation and retirement of 51 additional employees since the start of the school year," he said. "The process has been further influenced by our commitment to staffing schools in the most thoughtful and thorough way and by our conscious effort to keep our promise to reduce class sizes." These factors, he said, increased the number of teachers the district needed to hire this year-in total, 253 new teachers.

Since April, CMSD recalled 28 teachers and screened and interviewed 362 candidates for the 253 open teaching positions. Of those screened, 203 applicants were interviewed by building-based hiring teams, and 141 of the applicants were hired and are either completing their required background checks or are already teaching in CMSD classrooms.

• Currently, the district has 84 open teaching positions, representing 3% of the district's teaching workforce. CMSD is actively seeking to fill positions in Special Education, Bi-Lingual Education, and in Secondary English, Math and Science and other key areas.

CMSD is continuing its work to address remaining open positions by:
• Screening new applicants daily.
• Providing screened applicants' names to principals on at least a weekly basis
• Scheduling and widely advertising its job hiring fairs. Next week's hiring fair is at the Barbara-Byrd Bennett Center on Wednesday, October 30.
• In the meantime, CMSD has 476 active substitute teachers who have been filling not only the district's open positions, but who also cover teacher absences when they occur.

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