Teacher vacancies in Kansas up 19 percent

The number of teacher vacancies in Kansas has increased 19 percent from the same time last year, officials reported Tuesday. 

After receiving a briefing from the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee, State Board of Education member Ann Mah wondered if local school boards were doing enough to recruit and retain teachers. 

She said school districts can implement “grow your own” programs, teacher pathways for high school students and help find housing for prospective teachers. 

“There is probably more they (local districts) could do than we can do,” Mah said. 

According to the report, in the fall of 2017, there were 513 vacancies. In the fall of this year, there are 612. Of those 513 vacancies last year, 158 were filled by spring.  

The top five vacancies for both years are special education (110 in 2017 and 132 in 2018); elementary (101 and 105); English Language Arts (42 and 47); math (40 and 35) and science (38 and 42). 

The top reason given for vacancies was “not fully qualified based on endorsement area” (236 in 2017 and 283 in 2018) followed by “no applicant” (122 in 2017 and 160 in 2018). 

Even though there are more vacancies, the number of teachers coming to Kansas from other states far exceeds the number of Kansas teachers leaving for other states — 568 to 248. 

The state has implemented several programs to attract more people to the teaching profession, such as pilot programs for limited apprentice licenses in elementary and special education, and has seen continued growth in restricted licenses. The pilot program for special education may produce up to 96 more teachers in the next school year, while the pilot program for elementary education may produce 23, officials said.


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