Across Illinois, school officials are reporting more trouble in employing qualified teachers and applicants to fill teaching jobs — leading some districts to cancel classes.
According to Fox32, a survey covering the 2015-16 school year done by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools survey showed 75 percent of school districts had fewer qualified candidates than in previous years, according to The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.
The survey also showed that 16 percent of schools canceled classes or programs due to a teacher shortage in areas including special education, language arts and math. According to the news outlet and the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois has more than 2,000 unfilled educator positions – including teachers, administrative and support staff.
“The licensed teachers are just not out there or in the pipeline,” said Tim Page, Superintendent in central Illinois to Fox32. “It’s not just a small school issue. It’s across the board and across all subjects.”
According to Page, when it came time to hire a P.E. teacher this year in A-C Central School District, they only received a few applications for a job that is usually, compared the other positions, easier to fill. School officials had to convince a retiree to work a few days a week while other staff took on the remaining classes, according to the news outlet.
According to Fox32 and Illinois educators, there were several reasons for the shortage including a state budget deadlock that ended earlier in the year as well as unfunded mandates. According to Jennifer Gill, the Superintendent in Springfield said it’s the district’s first year they did not have many candidates left over from the beginning of the year to hire during the second semester.
“It’s a good time to go into teaching because there are going to be a lot of openings,” she said to Fox32.