PATERSON — One of the state's largest public school districts has roughly 100 teaching positions either currently open or expected to become vacant this year — five times the typical amount, a spokesman for the district has confirmed.

"This is not solely a Paterson Public Schools problem. It is an 'everywhere' problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic," Paul Brubaker of Paterson Public Schools said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5 on Monday.

The district of more than 2,100 educators has 104 teaching vacancies, which includes 27 teachers who have indicated that they would retire sometime during the upcoming school year as they become eligible, Brubaker said, as detailed during a Paterson Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.

"When you’re talking about 68 vacancies when the school year begins, it isn’t alarming especially when compared to other large districts – Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Trenton – where there are similar staffing challenges," Brubaker added.

Paterson Public Schools typically have had about 20 vacancies at any given time, before the pandemic, he said.

The school district has said it will continue to aggressively recruit teachers, especially in areas that are typically challenging to staff: special education, ESL and world languages and the sciences.

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