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Statewide special needs teacher staffing shortages affecting Colorado Springs schools


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A reported staffing shortage of special education and mental health education staff in Colorado is impacting the Pikes Peak Region. In some cases, students who need extra support aren't able to get the services required for their individualized education program.

One District 11 parent told KRDO they received a letter saying that their child's individualized education plan could not be met because of staffing shortages. In this case, that shortage was of a social worker.

D11 said it's actively working on filling the gaps. In 2022, the district approved a 20% raise for special education paraprofessionals. The state also has loan forgiveness plans in place as a way to incentivize people into going into the positions.

Still, district leaders said these jobs are hard to fill. For now, they're leaning on outside support while students wait for their individualized programs to be filled.

"We do have a plan in place with outside providers who will be coming in to retroactively provide those supports," explained Devra Ashby with District 11.

The Colorado Department of Education also told KRDO that this special education teacher staffing shortage is nothing new. In 2022, there were 493 special education generalist positions open across the state. This year, despite incentivizing the positions, there are still hundreds of vacancies.

To apply for a D-11 special education job, click here.

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Emily Coffey

Emily is a Reporter for KRDO. Learn more about her here.


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