Many Central Illinois school districts are struggling to fill an unprecedented number of teaching vacancies just weeks before the school year begins.
Regional School Superintendent Mark Jontry said the 30 school districts he oversees in McLean, DeWitt, Logan and Livingston counties have 56 open teaching positions.
He said that's unheard of this late in the summer.
“It’s a real issue,” Jontry declared.
Jontry said the greatest need is for special education teachers. He said schools might have to help prospective teachers get the proper certification.
“Probably 75 percent of those are not going to be filled by someone who currently holds the minimum license in special education,” Jontry said.
Jontry added if these vacancies aren't filled, class sizes will grow and some programs could be reduced or eliminated.
The lack of teachers to fill Illinois classrooms has been deemed a crisis with educators looking for answers.
Jontry added more rural districts might have get creative to lure and keep teachers.
“We are probably approaching a crisis point,” Jontry said. “When you are at a crisis point, you’ve got to entertain all options. In the absence of entertaining all options, that crisis is going to be fulfilled.”
GLT will present a weeklong series on the teacher shortage on GLT's Sound Ideas the week of Aug. 13.
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