Statewide teacher shortage means fewer subs too

Capitol Bureau

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Hundreds of teaching job openings have Kansas school districts looking for a solution.

Education leaders were at Kansas State University Monday working to make sure there is a teacher in every classroom to begin the day, whether they’re full-time or a substitute.

At the beginning of the school year, the state had more than 800 teacher vacancies. School officials said that’s impacting the number of available substitutes.

The state’s worker shortage, less retired teachers, and current teachers taking a higher number of days off are all contributing to the dilemma.

Officials said to make sure that students always have an adult present, counselors; librarians; principals; and other teachers on their plan period are filling the void.

“When you can’t find full-time certified teachers, all of those kids coming out of college are going directly into teaching jobs, that reduces the number of subs for us,” said Andy Koenigs, assistant superintendent of human resources for Derby Public Schools. “Also the economy plays a role, usually when the economy is down, people looking for jobs, substituting is a good temporary second job, and that’s not the case.”

“It’s a difficult job to fill at this point.”

Andy Koenigs, Derby Public Schools

Schools are choosing to pay substitutes more, giving them incentives to work more days, and making sure they know they’re a critical part of the staff.

Koenigs was one of the presenters for substitute issues at the statewide teacher retention summit on Monday.

The summit was a partnership between the Kansas Department of Education and the K-State College of Education.

Koenigs hopes school leaders talk with each other and develop the best ways to grow the number of subs in the state.

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