Government & Politics

Kansas Board of Education names five hard teaching jobs to fill

In the midst of what experts say is a statewide teacher shortage, the Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday named five subject areas that are the toughest to find teachers for.

After surveying school districts across the state, the Kansas Department of Education reported that secondary English language arts and literature, secondary science, secondary math, elementary classroom teachers and fine arts are the hardest positions to fill this year.

The Kansas State Board of Education agreed on those hard-to-fill jobs during its meeting Tuesday. Board members made the decision after a long discussion about keeping the teaching categories as broad as the law would allow.

A new state law lets schools having difficulty filling tough positions hire retired teachers to work full time up to three years without losing retirement benefits. By keeping the categories broad, it becomes easier for districts to find teachers to fill those jobs, board members said.

The state board must certify the top five teaching jobs that are the hardest to fill. The state automatically considers special-education teachers hard to find.

The Kansas Association of School Boards reports that as of Sept. 1, 317 teaching vacancies existed in Kansas public schools. They did not give specifics on how many of those might fall in the hard-to-fill category.

Also on the board’s agenda was information about anti-bullying awareness.

The next meeting for the state board is Nov. 9 and 10.