Both San Miguel County school districts and Mora Independent Schools lost a total of 18 teachers due to retirements after the 2020-21 year.

According to a published report, retirements of teachers and other public education employees in New Mexico increased by 40 percent this year, and the pandemic is thought to be one of a number of possible causes.

The state Educational Retirement Board reports handling 1,269 applications for July 1 retirement this year, up from 906 the year before and the largest number in seven years, according to the report.

Las Vegas City Schools lost seven teachers with a combined 185 years of teaching experience due to retirements.

Superintendent Larryssa Archuleta said these teachers left mainly because of stress created by COVID.

“We were very fortunate to have been able to replace 100 percent of our vacancies,” Archuleta said.

West Las Vegas Superintendent Christopher Gutierrez said eight teachers retired. The district was fully staffed at the start of he school year and allocated more money for teacher salaries this  year to support the state raises.

Mora lost three teachers to retirement, said superintendent Marvin MacAuley. Combined, they spent 49 years teaching in the district.

“They served many years and felt they needed to move on,” MacAuley said. “Some reasons were to spend time with family. They also felt that it was very difficult teaching in a pandemic environment.”

He noted it’s been very difficult replacing teachers.

“We are still lacking one position,” MacAuley said. “The teacher shortage affects schools across multiple content areas and we have to rely on alternative licensure and foreign teachers.”

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