TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — "We're finding the same thing every year," Justin Wing, a data analyst with the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA), said. "The teacher shortage is not improving. It's still significant."
The report by ASPAA showed that 31% of positions that were vacant at the start of the school year remained vacant a few weeks into the school year.
"There's concerns about teacher leaving for good reasons," Wing said. "It doesn't matter. We don't have that line out the door of candidates to fill that job. If there is a teacher shortage at the start of the school year, it most certainly remains during the school year. "
The Tucson Unified School District currently has 128 teaching positions open. That is about 4% of all their teachers. The district says it is using substitute teachers, consolidating classrooms, and having staff teachers pickup extra classes.
"There are too few hands trying to cover all that work," Jim Bryne, a teacher at La Cholla High Shcool, said. "It's not just Cholla it's not just TUSD, it's across the state."
One of the other concerns is the amount of teachers leaving the education field. Many of the new teachers coming in have help, but not right now.
"When you take them away from people that want to go into the profession and have chosen to be here in Tucson or in Arizona; now, they don't have that support the first couple months of school and they are pulling their hair out," Margaret Chaney, the Tucson Education Association President said.
TUSD is not the only district seeing vacancies. Here are what some of the other districts are seeing:
- Vail Unified School District - 8 Openings
- Marana Unified School District - 13 Openings
- Catalina Foothills Unified School District - 2 Openings