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Teacher shortage looming for Colorado Springs districts, as the school year approaches


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- The teacher shortage across the country appears to be getting worse locally. One Colorado Springs school district has seen a 117% increase in teaching position vacancies, while another is now offering $2,500 incentives to get teachers to sign on.

According to school officials, this shortage has been getting worse for a couple of years now, with the pandemic to blame for much of it. But now, just about a month from the start of the school year, multiple districts are doing anything they can to get teachers in the classroom.  

For both Colorado Springs School District 11 and Academy District 20, finding and retaining teachers is a priority. It's also become a challenge. 

"We're seeing fewer students graduate with teaching degrees," District 20 spokesperson Allison Cortez says.

So when teachers retire or move on, replacing them is only getting tougher.

"What we started seeing pre-covid was just a decline in the interest in going into the teaching profession and we knew that long term that was going to create a teacher shortage nationally, and it did," Devra Ashby from District 11 said.

In District 11 there are 129 teaching openings. In District 20 there are even more classified positions open, 178. At this time last year, District 20 had just 82 classified openings, a 117% increase.

"It's across the board, elementary, middle, and high [school]," Cortez added.

So what can the districts do? In District 11, the district is touting a strong benefits package, the signing bonus for new teachers, and bi-annual bonus payments to current teachers throughout the year.

District 20 is using targeted advertising to bring more teachers to the district. Additionally, teachers were given a 10% raise last year, but still, the openings persist. The plan going forward for both districts is similar. 

"What we're looking at doing is possibly bringing on some long-term subs, bringing back some retired teachers if they're willing to, and bringing back some of our retired support staff if they'd like to join us just to bridge the gap," Ashby continued. "We have to remain flexible about scheduling and then dividing and conquering."

To apply to work at Academy School District 20, click here.

To apply to work at Colorado Springs School District 11, click here.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is the weekend evening anchor, and a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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