Districts will likely continue to grapple with staffing shortages for years to come but a survey released this week shows a little optimism. Fewer administrators were feeling understaffed at the beginning of 2023-24 compared to last school year even as hiring for some positions remains a substantial challenge, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ School Pulse Panel.
Some 45% of the 4,000 public schools surveyed reported not having enough personnel in August 2023, a decrease from the 53% who said the same in August 2022. Still, two-thirds of schools said a lack of qualified candidates was a major obstacle to filling vacant positions while hiring elementary school and special education teachers remains among the most pressing challenges, the survey found.
Snapshots of staffing shortages
A closer look at staffing shortages shows that, of schools with a vacancy, nearly eight in 10 reported having trouble finding qualified candidates this summer.
Seven in 10 schools said too few candidates applied for open positions. And about one-third said candidates turned down job offers because salaries and benefits were too low. Only 5% of the schools surveyed had no vacancies to fill.
Some 80% of schools also had trouble filling non-teaching vacancies. Too few applicants and a lack of qualified candidates were cited as the main reasons.
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