Filling a teaching vacancy just over a month into a new year isn’t at the top of any school’s district’s wish list, but Stoughton Area School District officials are moving quickly to find a new educator – or educators – at Kegonsa Elementary.

The search started last week when the district received an “unexpected resignation” from Kegonsa third grade teacher Trenna Boyd on Oct. 3. Boyd did not respond to a text message seeking comment.

SASD officials are hoping to find a qualified teacher for the rest of the year, but superintendent Tim Onsager told school board members at their Oct. 7 meeting the more likely move, suggested by Kegonsa staff, would be hiring two educational assistants and splitting Boyd’s students between the two remaining third-grade teachers. He said if a qualified teacher can’t be found “within a week or a little longer,” the district would seek to hire the EAs.

The board approved the move.

“We’d like to go this route so we have stability for these kids, so they and their families know what the rest of the year will be, and these two teachers can start planning for the additional students,” he said. “Five weeks into the school year, it’s really hard to find a quality instructor.”

The move would increase the other two classrooms from around 19 to around 28 students, which Onsager said is above the district’s desired target of 24 students in third-grade classrooms. But he said the addition of the EAs would ease the burden.

“I give (Kegonsa staff) a lot of credit (for saying) why don’t we split that class,” Onsager said. “They said with the way they were set up, (they) can work with class sizes that big for this year if we have an additional adult in each classroom.”

Onsager said the goal would be for the hires to be “just to get us through this year.” Depending on benefits selected by the people hired, the cost could be a one-year increase of about $23,000, which can be accommodated in the budget, business director Erika Pickett wrote in the board’s packet.

Board member Steve Jackson said it would be best for Boyd’s former students to be in a classroom with teachers already well-versed in the district’s curriculum.

“(Third grade) is a pivotal year, not only for the children, but for the programs we’re trying to implement,” he said. “So having that consistency of the two existing teachers … knowing what they should be delivering in as far as programming, makes a lot of sense.”

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