Teacher shortage still impacting districts

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GARDEN CITY, Kan. Garden City is only one of several districts facing a teacher shortage.

Roy Cessna, public information coordinator for the district said this year however, is different, "We've had more of a struggle this year, that we had in previous years just due to the teacher shortage that we've seen not only in the state but nationwide."

The Garden City district had fifty vacancies when the school year ended, but a lack of applicants led them to eliminate over a dozen jobs and to hire long-term substitutes for this upcoming school year.

"We have raised a few class sizes to meet the needs of off setting some of the teachers that we can't hire for the positions," Cessna said.

Another issue for the Garden City district is that of teacher resignations right before the school year starts. Since June, twelve teachers have left, but not before paying the district fines upwards of 400 dollars.

"It really is to discourage teachers from leaving at such a late date and time as we get nearer to the start of the school year," said Cessna.

These fines aren't new to the district, they have had them in place for years and they increase up to two-thousand dollars if teachers leave after the school year begins.

Figuring out why so many teachers leave is something Cessna said the district will be looking into, "We've seen teachers that are from other states who have been here for over five years and over nine years that have left just because of location, family, they pull back because they are so far away from home. It being a rural place like Garden City where we are, people want to go back to a metropolitan area."

Cessna said they are confident that student's education will not be impacted by the teacher shortage, "We're trying our best to help fill the needs of the students and to help provide that top quality education that students and the garden city community have come to expect."