As the new school year is fast-approaching, school districts in the Finger Lakes are still trying to fill positions.
FingerLakes1.com spoke to a couple of school districts in Seneca and Ontario County to see if the teacher shortage will persist and why there are a limited number of teachers.
No teachers to hire and lots of positions to fill: Will staff shortages persist in the Finger Lakes?
Positions have been posted for months and are still open
Michelle Reed is the new Superintendent Of Schools at Seneca Falls Central School District and only started her position recently on July 1st.
Since she started her own position, the school district has been actively interviewing the entire team as the school has been posting jobs for teachers since March.
“A lot of these positions have been out, they’ve been open. What we’re finding is there’s certain content areas that are more difficult to fill, for example, science. We just recently hired science teachers for our district, English as a new language instructor is looking to be one of our more difficult positions to fill,” said Reed.
Reed also mentioned now that there are teacher shortages at most schools, teachers have more choices right now and that then gives them some leeway to make decisions like being closer to family or friends.
“This is probably one of our toughest years to fill positions,” says Kruger
Steve Kruger is the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services at Geneva City School District and said that this year has been one of the hardest ever to fill teaching positions.
“This is something that’s been happening with all the other districts. There is a teacher shortage, and that has impacted us, but we’re getting through it,” said Kruger.
According to Kruger, the reason why so many schools are facing a teacher shortage is due to a combination of things.
“The pandemic, for sure has impacted all the sectors as far as employment and education is no different. This has caused a lot of people to retire, some retiring early, some getting out of education altogether. It’s a cycle and couple that with not a lot of people going into education.”
Reed added that the pandemic made things a lot more difficult.
“To add that layer of not knowing if you’re going to be remote, are you going to be in person? There is genuine fear and concern about health. I think that did have an impact on certain positions, particularly support staff. We are very lucky that we’re able to start the year.”
What positions are Seneca and Ontario county school districts looking to be filled?
Both Reed and Kruger are finding that it’s been hard to fill English as a New Language Instructor (ENL) or Spanish teacher positions.
“English as a New Language Instructor is looking to be one of our more difficult positions to fill. So we’re seeing certain content areas are becoming more and more difficult to fill,” said Reed.
Kruger said his school also is in need of Spanish teachers, which are “difficult to fill anyways.”
“We’re trying to hire some special ed teachers. And we’re also looking at some specialty areas like Spanish and technology.”
Other than ENL instructors, Reed said Seneca Falls School district is looking for a school psychologist, teacher subs, and teacher aides.