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Though short on teachers, Kansas City metro schools ready to welcome students back

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Hannah Cole
/
KCUR
Schools across the country are grappling with a shortage of teachers and school administrators. The Blue Valley School District, in Kansas, has more than 200 open positions listed on their website.

Schools are finalizing schedules and prepping classrooms for the start of a new school year. Two superintendents share how they've prepared and where resources are falling short.

Despite hiring 85 new teachers, Raymore-Peculiar Superintendent Mike Slagle said the district will rely on substitute teachers to provide instruction in some classrooms. The situation is similar across the state line in the Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District, according to Superintendent Anna Stubblefield.

The heads of both districts say the career field has changed in recent years, adding to the difficulty of recruitment and retention. In spite of the personnel challenges, the districts are ready to welcome students back to school.

The two superintendents shared how their districts are addressing safety concerns, after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, staffing shortages, busing and new programs within the district.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.