AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District said it made strides in hiring hundreds of teachers for this school year, but it’s still working to fill 206 vacancies.

In an update Monday morning, the district said it was able to hire over 685 new teachers this summer. That brings Austin ISD to a 95.9% fill rate, the district said.

Previously, the district reported it had over 500 open positions in mid-July. At the time, AISD said it had sign-on incentives for teacher assistants and special education teaching assistants ranging from $500 to $1,000.

The district also increased base pay for teachers to a minimum of $52,190 as part of its new budget for this school year. Teachers will also get a 2% increase based on the midpoints of all salaries.

A KXAN investigation found Austin ISD saw more than 1,000 educators retire or resign during the 2021-22 school year — 30% more than the previous school year.

Across Texas, school districts are battling with teacher shortages, with data showing more than 42,000 Texas teachers retiring or resigning during the 2021-22 school year. That’s the most retirements and resignations seen in a single school year in the past decade.

Exit forms from teachers who quit obtained by KXAN showed how inflation, stagnant salaries and last-minute legislative mandates led to the statewide teacher shortages. 

You can read Monday’s full staffing update from Austin ISD below:

In Austin ISD, we know that the teacher is the single most important factor for student outcomes. Over the course of this summer, our staffing and recruitment team has hired more than 685 new teachers. We are currently working to fill 206 vacancies. Overall, we are at a 95.9 percent fill rate. We are committed to ensuring that every student in Austin ISD learns and grows with the support of a qualified teacher. 

Austin ISD staffing update from Aug. 29 newsletter