Garden City, Kansas– “We’re always working to try to get the best qualified teachers that we can,” said Roy Cessna, Public Information Coordinator for Garden City Public Schools.
With a high turnover rate Garden City Schools are looking often. USD 457 usually hires between 80 and 100 new teachers each year, but right now they’re struggling to fill 47 positions before the fall.
“There’s not enough teachers graduating from the universities to fill all of the positions that are needed,” Cessna said.
KSN sat down with two local teachers who know what it’s like to be short staffed.
“[The school] didn’t have enough teachers to cover the fourth grade positions that we had open up so I was moved kind of at the last minute up to fourth grade,” said fourth grade teacher Rebekah Walsh. “That was something I had to adjust to.”
Garden isn’t the only district struggling. Dodge City has a handful of positions open and says while much of it has to do with retirements, “there is a lot of unknown right now with our legislature in the field of education, and with that, comes fear.”
In all its estimated Kansas schools have about 800 positions left to fill. With so many open positions across the state and not enough teachers to fill them there could be an increase in classroom sizes or a reliance on long-term substitutes.
USD 457 has pushed recruitment into new states like New York and Ohio in an effort to find more teachers, but in the meantime existing teachers say they’ll work with what they’ve got.
“We want to make sure the kids get everything they can out of school and so it doesn’t really matter if someone isn’t there, you’re going to step up and do it because you want what’s best for them,” said third grade teacher Aly Wuensch.