Superintendents speak on dealing with Illinois’ teacher shortage

A crumbling state pension system and more rigorous testing for certification are just a few of the reasons Superintendent Ralph Grimm thinks have lead to a teacher shortage in Illinois.
School starts in a week and still District 205 is seeking applicants for nine teachers, including four special education teachers.

Knox-Warren Special Education Co-op is also straining to find candidates for openings for three psychologists, two social workers and a speech pathologist.

Grimm tells Galesburg’s Morning News on WGIL he understands why teachers particularly in this part of state would leave behind a pension system in which they might pay in more than they get out, in favor of neighboring Missouri or Iowa.

“The kids that want to enter the profession, they know that,” Grimm says. “So if they really have their heart set on being a teacher, they’re looking elsewhere. Not here in Illinois.”

Monmouth-Roseville schools’ head Ed Fletcher says their district is having similar issues.

He talked to his board last night about the difficulty of staff leaving close to the start of the school year.

But there is possible recourse when they find themselves in this position.

“We do have the ability, if someone leaves within 30 days before school starts, we can communicate with the state board and ask that they freeze their license,” Fletcher says. “I’m not saying we do that, but I have to be an advocate for kids.”

Fletcher said this would only be done on a case by case basis.

Grimm and Fletcher both say the shortage is spread throughout the state.

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