SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Public Schools is preparing for the upcoming school year.
One of those ways is to fill remaining openings throughout the district.
“We’re trying to fill about 140 now, and about 25 of those are certified teaching positions,” Dr. Bret Range with SPS said.
Range says having a number this high, this close to the start of school isn’t out of the ordinary.
“Education’s no different than any other industry in the state of Missouri. We all face a worker shortage,” Range said. “I think our Board of Education and our administration have done a good job to continue to try to put a salary and benefits package together that is at the top or comparable to any school district in the state.”
OzarksFirst spoke to a local teacher’s union about the openings.
“I think a lot of our younger educators are willing to move, and therefore, you know, we’re really competing more against some of the bigger districts and bigger cities,” Laura Mullins, president of the Springfield NEA said.
Mullins says many of the openings surround special education and paraprofessionals.
“When a student has an IEP, we have legal obligations and minutes to meet. Those are going to be of high importance to fill,” Mullins said. “When you go into ‘what else do we do to support students with special needs?’ you have the classroom teacher, but then you also have the support, and that’s where the paraprofessional is.”
The district remains confident the openings won’t affect students in the classroom.
“I think the most important thing we want to stress is, you know, these positions, lots of these positions are Esser (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funded positions that we’re putting to ensure that that our staff have the support they need to be successful,” Range said. “We are doing our best to fill those positions.”
Springfield’s first day of school is August 22.