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Kansas Facing Another Year Of Teacher Shortages

cybrariann77, Flickr Creative Commons

Kansas continues to face a teacher shortage, with schools reporting 440 vacancies this school year.

Those empty jobs worry educators because they force schools into workarounds, such as larger class sizes or long-term substitutes. They can also reduce class offerings and lessen support for special-education students.

Janet Waugh represents Kansas City, Kansas on the State Board of Education. She calls the situation heart breaking.

"Are you kidding me?" Waugh asked. "90 elementary vacancies? 82 special education vacancies? And the list goes on and on. These kids are still coming to school, I'm assuming."

Last year a task force analyzed vacancies for the state board and found high-poverty urban school districts, like Kansas City and Wichita, especially struggle to fill jobs. Vacancies are also a problem for Garden City and other southwest Kansas districts.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen is based in the Kansas News Service’s Topeka newsroom. She writes about how the world is transforming around us, from topsoil loss and invasive species to climate change. He aims to explain why these stories matter to Kansas, and to report on the farmers, ranchers, scientists and other engaged people working to make Kansas more resilient. Email me at celia@kcur.org.