Group: Arizona teacher shortage reaching 'crisis levels'

Posted at 4:39 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 02:04:04-04

A group is fighting to prevent what they claim is already reaching "crisis levels" from happening. 

The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Administration recently surveyed 130 school districts and charter schools around the state to learn of staffing shortages those schools may have faced for the 2016 school year. 

Of the 130 districts and schools that participated, 8,190 openings were needed to fill for the current school year. The total vacancies that remained as of August 28 was 2,041. 

"Hiring has become increasingly difficult and we are very concern about the number of teachers going into teacher preparation program," said Dr. Shaun Holmes, assistant superintendent of human resources with Mesa Schools. "The shortages we see now are only going to grow in coming years."

According to the survey, 47% of teaching positions were vacant or were filled with applications that did not meet the standard teacher requirements. In addition, 465 teachers left their job within the first four weeks of the school year. 

Every day is a new day when you're teaching," substitute teacher Lorraine Calvarese said. "You don't want into the same thing day in and day out the way other people do with their jobs.

And that's not the only rewarding quality of the profession. 

"You opportunity to affect a child's life is life altering to the person," Calvarese said.

ASPAA, in a release, said it was "challenging" for schools to hire and also keep teachers as the "candidate pool is dry."