How staff shortages will impact the upcoming school year
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Nationwide, there’s a teacher and school staff shortage and it’s also happening in Wyoming.
Currently, school staff across the state are dwindling, and officials are looking at new ways of keeping and bringing staff to the table.
With the new school year right around the corner, what do staff shortages mean to the upcoming school year?
Officials say school staff shortages in Wyoming are more than 700, and rural districts have been the hardest hit.
According to Chad Auer, the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction in the State of Wyoming, teachers are overwhelmed.
“How can we lessen the burden on teachers and let them do what they went into this profession to do? Which was to teach children to equip children to be ready for citizenship,” says Auer.
In Cheyenne, more than 140 educators and administrators retired or quit last year. Even with new hires, LCSD1 still has 40 positions to fill going into the new school year.
Officials say school staff applications are dropping, testing and mandates are adding to teachers’ stress and housing and cost of living affect where teachers go.
”I think some people are feeling that the profession isn’t respected, it’s not supported, and I think all of those are very compelling reasons,” says Auer.
Vicki Thompson, LCSD1′s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, says other states are poaching teachers, and she’s looking to the legislature to act.
“I see other states because of the way they are funded by their state and through local mill levies catching up to Wyoming or surpassing Wyoming,” says Thompson.
Short staff ranges from special education, secondary math and science teachers, counselors and psychologists.
”It is going to be an additional burden on our current teachers and staff by increasing workload, possibly increasing class sizes; another possibility is getting rid of programs we cant staff,” says Thompson.
Wyoming is currently participating in a new teacher apprenticeship program.
The program will train anyone who may be interested in teaching and work with credits already earned, work experience, and additional courses to get new teachers into the classroom.
Officals say the bus driver or a local clerk could become teachers in a short time, but they are still building this program; they are hoping this could help to bring and qualify new teachers in the state.
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