SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This school year is coming to a close, but the Sioux Falls School District is busy making sure they have enough teachers ready for the start of the next school year.

“We are a little further ahead in May, but that was by design,” Becky Dorman, the Senior Director of Human Resources at the Sioux Falls School District said.

With such low unemployment across the region and many open positions in every industry, the Sioux Falls school district has been aggressively hiring for the 2023-2024 school year.

“We’re sitting in a great position. We have filled 81 positions so far, we still have 42 open teaching positions,” Dorman said.

While they still have some hiring to do yet this summer, the Sioux Falls School District started hiring earlier than ever before for the upcoming school year.

“We were starting even last fall, hiring for next fall,” Dorman said.

Many of those early fall hires are college students who are graduating this may after having a job already secured for months.

“If they’re here doing their student teaching, they’re learning the ropes here, we’d love for them to stay, so we try to be as proactive as possible,” Dorman said.

That proactive approach is especially evident in special education, where it’s the hardest in the nation to find educators.

“The need is always greater than the supply of candidates,” Dorman said. “So we do tuition reimbursement for getting your special education degree, hiring bonuses for being a special education teacher, to help mitigate some of those smaller applicant pools.”

Later this summer the district will also begin hiring teacher and education assistants as well as substitute teachers.

“We will hire probably about a 100 teaching assistants for next year, we’re also going to need about 250 more substitute teachers by mid August,” Dorman said.

Since the pandemic began, The Sioux Falls School District says they have seen an increase in teachers coming to the district through alternative certification, meaning they used to work in a professional field and decided to teach that trade instead.