WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new school year is almost upon us, but before the bell rings, some districts are scrambling to fill open positions.
The superintendent of Goodland Public Schools said people aren’t applying. He has noticed the change overtime, and this year, they are now preparing to adapt to three unfilled roles, and he isn’t alone.
“It’s an ongoing problem certainly not unique to Goodland, but it’s becoming crisis-mode a little bit as we search for people,” said Bill Biermann, the superintendent of the Goodland district.
Getting competitive, Biermann said they have been focusing on keeping staff, but with several retirements and a dry applicant pool, they have to adapt.
“We have, in Goodland, four classes per elementary grade, so our two elementary openings that we’ve been trying to fill, that will probably go unfilled, that just means we’ll squeeze it down to three,” said Biermann.
Dr. Tiffany Snyder, the director of recruitment and retention at Salina Public Schools, said they have five open teaching positions. Their board of education passed a pay increase for all staff, and the district has a retention incentive. She said the staff is volunteering to teach extra classes.
“Which, you know, we just don’t like to do. But we’ve had volunteers. We have great teachers, great staff that volunteer and are stepping up to help if it comes down to that,” said Dr. Snyder.
Newton Public Schools also has several teacher openings but has also recently hired some experienced staff.
“We do have to look at what we offer versus what people around us are offering, and we’re really proud we’ve picked up a couple of principals from area schools,” said Carly Stavola, the director of communications for Newton Public Schools.
The superintendent for Belle Plaine School District said though applicants were slim, they have been able to fill all of their openings.
“Sometimes circumstances, geography, family and such. Allow someone to walk in your door that you weren’t expecting, and we had that happen,” said Dr. Kelly Arnberger, Belle Plaine superintendent.
The superintendent of Goodland did share they currently have about a dozen alumni who are getting a degree in education. He said he hopes they come back to teach in their hometown one day.
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