LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s largest school district is starting the new school year with more than 300 teacher vacancies.

The Clark County School District opened up the new school year Monday with about 320,000 Las Vegas-area students. It’s also the first year that the fifth-largest school system in the country will offer full-day kindergarten at all of its schools.

The district said it has 319 teacher slots to fill as of Monday, cutting by more than half the 881 vacancies left at the end of last school year in June. Long-term substitutes are heading the classrooms where there isn’t one hired. The school system said it already has 18,300 licensed teachers on the payroll and are continuing to work through the hiring and paperwork process for current applicants.

Officials had said that there were about 700 vacancies back in February when the governor declared the teacher shortage a statewide emergency. That allowed educators who were already licensed in another state to start teaching in southern Nevada’s vacancy-filled classrooms immediately while they work through the Nevada licensure requirements within a year.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports ( that the Clark County School District made the largest share of its recent hires thanks to that policy change. Mike Gentry, chief recruitment officer, also credited salary hikes in the latest teachers’ contract for drawing in new teachers.

And even though the district has hired 1,539 new teachers, the latest vacancy numbers still come with some caveats. Increased class sizes cut nearly 300 positions in order to balance the district’s budget. Another 200 or so applicants are now being vetted before hiring is made formal.

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal,