State leaders say Kentucky has over 10,000 teacher vacancies
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s significant teacher shortage was the focus of an event at the State Capitol Rotunda on Monday.
School, community and business leaders came together to ask for legislation and other measures to get more people interested in teaching jobs.
Governor Andy Beshear says Kentucky is 44th in the nation in teacher pay and it has gotten worse in recent years. He and other leaders say there are 11,000 teacher vacancies and some school leaders say some openings lead to no one applying.
The Coalition to Sustain the Education Profession was formed to highlight to need to hire more teachers and pay them more. It is made up of educators, business, and civic leaders.
There are 675,000 public school kids, but there’s a need for 11,000 teachers to be hired.
Jason Booher of Mercer county is among those on the coalition. He says the school board did recently vote to hike teacher pay by 5% but says more legislative help is needed.
“It is a fight because you need more funding obviously to do that. We are asking the General Assembly to open the budget this spring but if not in 2024 for an impact,” Mercer said.
Governor Beshear says as of now, Kentucky has a $2 billion budget surplus and is proposing that the state use what is above and beyond its budgetary needs for teacher pay.
The chair of the House Education Committee, James Tipton, says the teacher shortage will be addressed when the General Assembly reconvenes next week.
“It is a tremendous challenge. And there’s no one answer,” said Rep. Tipton. “The Governor mentioned funds; resources are an important part of this. As I talk to teachers, there are issues: burnout, additional duties.”
The coalition is recommending various solutions to the teacher shortage, including a statewide marketing campaign, a tenure review committee, and a $500 stipend for student teachers.
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