A persistent teacher shortage remains in Kansas, just two weeks before students start returning for the new school year.
According to the state-run Kansas Education Employment Board, there were 466 open positions at Kansas schools as of Monday. Of the openings, 236 were for certified teachers. The other openings were for administrators, support staff and other positions.
"This is more than double where we usually sit at this time of year," says Julie Wilson, the KEEB coordinator who helps run its website kansasteachingjobs.com.
Earlier this month, Kansas education officials revealed that the number of teachers who left the state to teach somewhere else has jumped 63 percent since 2011. Last year, 654 teachers left Kansas to teach in another state. Overall, the same report showed that more than 3,700 teachers in Kansas either quit, retired, or moved to another state.
A looming teacher shortage has been the buzz among Kansas educators all summer, dating back to the first reports that teachers were leaving for other states due to Kansas's uncertain political climate.
But now, with school just around the corner, there is added urgency to the numbers being seen by education officials.
"Schools don't have very many good alternatives now," says Wilson, of kansasteachingjobs.com. "You can hire a substitute to start the year and hold down that classroom until a permanent teacher is hired. But that's not ideal."