Teacher openings increase, applicants decrease

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Teacher openings increase, applicants decrease

As the number of open teaching positions in South Dakota’s public schools increased in 2015, the number of applicants for open positions drastically declined compared to last year.


According to a survey conducted by SASD, 30 percent of the 837 open teaching positions for the 2015-16 school year remained unfilled as of May 27 and districts received nearly 800 fewer applicants than they did in 2014.


“The teacher shortage is a compounding problem,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.


“Just like last year, our schools are filling open teaching positions later than they normally do and this year we’re seeing a troubling drop in the number of teacher applicants.”


Download the survey data here.


Last year, school districts reported 803 total openings, which received more than 3,200 applicants for high school math, science, English and social studies, elementary and special education positions.


In 2015, teacher applicants for those same positions totaled just over 2,400 with high school English as the only discipline to see in an increase in the average number of applications submitted for open positions.


High school math decreased by five applications per open position, high school social studies dropped by four applications per open position, special education positions received three fewer applications per opening and high school science and elementary positions dipped by one application.


“The teacher shortage is real and it is only going to get worse as we’re seeing with declining number of applicants,” SASD Executive Director Rob Monson said.


The number of unfilled teaching positions this May – a time when school districts traditionally have all spots filled –was similar to last year’s report, but elementary positions increased to 41 positions open in May, 2015 compared to 31 open in May of last year.


Despite the similarity in unfilled teaching positions in May, ASBSD’s Teacher Placement Service website has seen nearly 2,000 open teaching positions posted on the site in the first six months of 2015, which is nearly 200 more jobs posted on the site throughout 2014 and nearly 800 more than were posted in all of 2010.


“We’re seeing unprecedented numbers on the Teacher Placement website,” Pogany said. “The number of open positions is getting larger and more are staying open later than normal.”


As open positions mount and the applicant pool shrinks, Pogany noted the importance of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, which will review the current teacher workforce and new funding sources for K-12.


“This study will shape the future of our schools,” Pogany said. “Everyone’s aware of the problem and we’re in need of a solution.”

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