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Wichita Public Schools Facing Teacher Shortage For Upcoming School Year

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

With the beginning of the school year a little more than a month away, Wichita’s public school district has an unusually high number of teacher vacancies.

Elementary schools in the district have the most openings at 13, followed by high schools and middle schools with 10 each. Special education programs in the district are short by 34 teachers.

Shannon Krysl, chief human resources officer with USD 259, says the number of unfilled positions is down significantly since June, when there were nearly 70 vacancies in elementary schools alone.

Krysl says having this many openings so close to the beginning of the school year is unheard of. She thinks it’s a result of the districts frozen budget, which caused a delay in hiring, and a shallow pool of teachers in the state.

“I’ve talked to a number of schools--Fort Hays, Pittsburg State, Emporia State--and all combined the number of students entering the college of education is down anywhere from 60 to 69 percent,” she says.

She's also seeing teachers here being heavily recruited by other states, specifically those surrounding Kansas. Wichita Public Schools plans to use qualified long-term substitutes to fill the positions until December, when Krysl says she expects student teachers will be hired upon completion of their degrees.


Follow Abigail Wilson on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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