AUSTIN (KXAN) — One week until classes begin in Austin ISD, but does the district have enough teachers?

Just last month KXAN told you there were more than 500 teaching positions that needed to be filled.

“Throughout the district, throughout the state, we are all facing these teacher shortages,” said Anthony Mays, AISD interim superintendent.

With school starting Aug. 15, Mays said they are working to fill the positions they still have open.

“We don’t want overcrowded classrooms,” said Mays.

Are there class size requirements?

According to the Texas Education Agency, a district must submit a request for a class size exception for any classrooms in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade that exceed the 22-student class size limit. A district seeking an exemption must notify the commissioner and apply for the exemption no later than the later of either (1) Oct. 1 or (2) the 30th day after the first school day the district exceeds the limit.

Hays said they are working to fill as many positions as possible, but teacher shortages aren’t something new.

“Unfortunately we dealt with some of this last year,” said Mays. “We even had some principals that were teaching courses throughout the year, because the teacher shortage began last year.”

Ken Zarifis with Education Austin said adding more students to a classroom can make it harder for a teacher to connect with all their students.

“I want kids to have an experience with their teacher that is close, that is relational,” said Zarifis.

Zarifis said teacher pay has also contributed to teachers leaving the profession.

“They need to pay public educators and the workers in our schools a livable wage,” said Zarifis.

The district said if it needs help filling positions, it has a plan.

“It looks like in some instances, positions that were formerly teacher coaches or instructional coaches may have to go in to support the needs that are taking place right there in the classroom,” said Mays.

KXAN is still waiting to hear how many positions the district has open. Once we receive the numbers we will add this to the story.