W. MI districts short on teachers as school year nears

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Days before the first day of classes, several West Michigan schools are scrambling to fill open teacher positions. 

From kindergarten to high school, some students won't have a permanent teacher until after the 2018-2018 school year starts. 

“Unfortunately, this is the reality facing school districts --  not just Grand Rapids Public Schools, but across the state and across the nation,” said GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt. “There is a teacher shortage crisis.” 

GRPS students head back to school Monday, but there's still at least 15 teaching jobs unfilled on their employment website. Retired teachers may step in as substitute teachers. 

Helmholdt told 24 Hour News 8 that they’ve run into issues finding qualified candidates. Science, math, and special education teachers are among the most difficult to find, according to Helmholdt.

“That's something that is a constant challenge throughout the school year, not just at the beginning of the year,” he said.  

“You can't say there aren't jobs out there, there are plenty of vacancies,” Helmholdt added.

The vacancies are not limited to GRPS; 13 high school and 15 elementary school teacher jobs were posted Tuesday on the Kent Intermediate School District website.



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