FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools is facing a massive teacher shortage. More than 70 people in the district will retire in just a few weeks including several teachers. With districts across the country facing the same problem, will there be enough teachers to fill all the openings?
At the beginning of this year there were about 45 teacher positions still open at FWCS. Those roles were all filled, but recruiters are already hitting the ground running to fill spots for next year.
At a dinner Wednesday 72 people will be honored after retiring from the district. Together the district will lose 1,800 years of experience.
“This is everyone from bus drivers to teachers to secretaries to administrators,” FWCS Spokesperson Krista Stockman said.
According to the district’s jobs page there are only two postings for certified teachers or substitute teachers, but that number will grow. Before school is even out recruiters are hoping to make some hires.
“It does always pose a challenge– our ability to find enough teachers, teachers with the right certifications,” Stockman said. “This is an ongoing process. This time of year our recruiter in human resources is out at job fairs, colleges.”
Across the country school districts have had to stretch because of teacher shortages. There just aren’t as many people graduating in the education field.
In Indiana, scholarships are offered to students who get a teaching degree then stay in the state to teach for five years.
“I think out of our district we have four or five of our students getting that,” Stockman said. “it’s a really good scholarship. Hopefully that kind of incentive will get kids to go into teaching then come back and teach with us.”
The district is losing some crucial teachers this year.
“The areas that are always critical are science and math, foreign language, special ed and you’ll see on the [retirement] list some science teachers retiring,” Stockman said. “So we’ll have some holes to fill there.”
There will be a lot of big smiles at the retirement dinner as people get excited for retirement, but there won’t be many dry eyes as they’ll leave a piece of themselves with the schools.