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KSDE Board meeting discuss teacher openings and student enrollment decreases

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Information presented at last week’s State Board of Education meeting showed the greatest needs in special education and elementary level. Because of this, the board discussed if students are still getting their proper education.

Information presented at the meeting shows the state had 130 more licensed personnel retirements last school year, compared to the year before.

Auburn-Washburn School District’s Executive Director of HR and Operations Brian White said they lost 70 certified staff last year -- about 13.5% of their total certified staff. They want to find people who are teaching in any way to apply for positions in USD 437.

“We have a career teaching pathway at our high schools to give students a chance explore teaching as a profession,” said White. “We also work with our current staff so we have some programs that helps of our current staff become teachers like our paraprofessionals, including partnering with Washburn University. They have a start program for paras-to-teachers. We also look at how we can help other members in our community transition to teaching from other careers.”

Enrollment in public and private schools decreased by 15,300, attendance dropped while chronic absenteeism and truancy have gone up since the pandemic began.

USD 501′s Dr. Aarion Gray said they’ve combat the shortage with a $4,000 incentive for staff, an extra $1,000 for front-line workers, and $2,000 for being a substitute teacher..

“We do have applicants every day who are applying for various positions within our district and again and I think it goes to show that you know we care about our staff here in Topeka Public Schools, not to say that other stuff but again you know, we figured out creative ways to make sure that our staff understands that they’re very important.”

But still, the state board says nearly 90 percent of educators remained in their same district and 475 professionals came from out of state to work..

White said, “We did experience a decrease in enrollment as a result of the pandemic we have seen that start to come back up. We hope that continues to grow and get back to our our numbers and where they were before.”

White said they started the school year with two unfilled positions but were able to maintain services with current staff and resources.

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