KXAN reports from PFLUGERVILLE, Texas. As school districts around the country struggle with staffing shortages, Pflugerville ISD is reminding people that primary teachers, as well as English, math, science, and social studies instructors at the middle and high school levels, do not require a certification to begin.

Once hired, the district will pay for instructors’ certification.

Superintendent Doug Killian discussed staffing, safety, and the return to normality with KXAN’s Tom Miller. For clarity and duration, this interview has been gently modified.

Miller: I’d want to start talking about school safety because it’s something that a lot of parents are concerned about. Are you prepared for an active shooter event, and how do you feel about having school resource police on campus?

Killian: We have our own police department, which has been in operation since 2010, 2010-11, if memory serves. We’ve worked well with the City of Pflugerville, but the main thing I’d say about school safety is that we should always be better prepared. We really held a school safety exercise and an active shooter drill for three days this week. We worked well with our municipal and emergency services district. We have constables in the district as well, so we’ve been practising our strategies and are on high alert. Could we now utilise additional funds from the state legislature to improve safety? Absolutely.

Miller: What about personnel? Another issue is that nearly every district we’ve spoken with is concerned about the amount of teachers for whom they still have openings. What is the current situation, and what are your plans to address it?

Killian: We are facing a similar problem. We’ve done a lot of stuff. We’ve been doing a lot more recruitment, going out and trying to encourage individuals with bachelor’s degrees to consider getting into education, and we’re really paying for people to get certified and finish their degrees. We’re in terrific shape, but I’ll be honest: I’ve had to do some difficult things recently. We’ve reintroduced pullout (gifted and talented) instructors into the classroom because I can’t justify having a pullout teacher when we could have a sub. The fact is that there aren’t enough individuals interested in working in public education, and we need help, therefore I’d say we’re hiring.

Miller: What are some of the things you’re looking forward to and want your family to look forward to?

Killian: Well, we’d want to have a regular school year. A school year where everyone is participating, where students are learning, where they are engaging in events, where parents are on our campuses, where they are genuinely engaged, and I want to go back to the 2019-2020 school year when all of that was feasible.