State Board of Education members express concern over teacher vacanciesScott Rothschild
State Board of Education members Tuesday expressed concerns about teacher vacancies in Kansas, especially in elementary schools and special education.
There are 90 teacher vacancies in elementary schools across Kansas and 82 in special education, according to fall data released by the Kansas State Department of Education.
Board Member Janet Waugh of Kansas City said the figures were “heartbreaking.”
In addition, 461 teachers left the profession last year, a number that has been steadily climbing over at least the past four years.
A Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee has recommended pilot programs for alternative elementary and special education teacher licensing, but KSDE’s Professional Standards Board hasn’t accepted those ideas.
Low teacher pay has often been cited as an issue in getting and keeping teachers. This year, after the Legislature approved increased funding for K-12, many school districts increased teacher pay. A KASB report shows that average teacher salaries would have to increase 8.2 percent to reach 2010 levels when adjusted for inflation.
Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said school districts across the state are providing teacher salary increases in the two percent to eight percent range and averaging four percent to five percent.