HERMISTON - The school year began Thursday in Hermiston with two positions left unfilled.

Hermiston High School has a full-time special education position open and Sandstone Middle School lacks a half-time social studies instructor.

The schools are using substitutes when necessary, Deputy Superintendent Darce Driskel said. He added that the district is in the hiring process for the open positions.

"We've advertised for them," Driskel said.

Buzz Brazeau, assistant principal at Hermiston High, said the school is compensating well for the unfilled position, with teachers dedicating file management time to help with the class. The vacant special education position usually covers a study skills class.

"We're pretty much using our time as efficiently as possible to cover that until we can find the right person," he said.

Hermiston High, like many high schools nationwide, fell short earlier this month of federal educational achievement standards under the No Child Left Behind Act regarding special education students . Brazeau said the vacancy shouldn't hinder Hermiston High's efforts to meet the standards.

"I don't think it's going to set us back at all," he said.

Sandstone has Cathy Lloyd, an experienced substitute teacher, filling in at the social studies position until the school hires a permanent employee.

"She's just one of our veteran guest teachers districtwide who can step in anywhere and do a great job," Sandstone Principal Pat Consoliver said.

Reached on Friday, Consoliver hoped to hire a candidate that she planned to interview that day.

"We're ready to hire her. She has to decide if she wants to come here," Consoliver said. "She comes highly recommended."

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