AUSTIN, Texas — Alyssa Potasznik has been teaching for over 12 years. Six of those years at Austin High School, a place she loves dearly.
"I really, I love my school," said Potasznik. "I love my coworkers. I love my students. I love my administration."
However, she said issues the district faced pre-pandemic were magnified in the last two years.
"I feel as though this year, all I've been doing is putting out fires," she added. "The morale is so bad, and people are feeling so beat down."
So, she's decided to leave Austin ISD when the school year ends.
Many have already left, the district is struggling to fill positions.
In November, they reported over 120 vacancies. Many more job openings than the year before.
"It's just so overwhelming, and people have left during the year in ways that I've never seen people leaving," said Ken Zarifis, Education Austin president. "They're just so many different pressures. It's just been too much. And so we have a shortage. There's not enough people to fill this position."
Zarifis said teachers are asking for change.
"I've just never seen so many people step up like the employees here have," said Zarifis.
He said the district needs to take care of the people they have left.
"We need to make sure that we're respecting the workers," said Zarifis. "The bus drivers, the custodians, the TAs as well. Those are the people that are making it work with the kids."
"I want to make things better, and I want to improve things, and I don't feel like I'm able to because we're all just drowning," said Potasznik.
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