Class is back in session but teachers are still needed as Peoria Public Schools (PPS) have 40 unfilled teaching positions throughout their 27 schools.
This time last year there were even more so it is improving little by little and but it is not just Peoria the teacher shortage is a statewide and national issue.
The shortage primarily impacts subjects like bilingual education, social and emotional disorders — among others.
The state board of education reports that between 2008 and 2018, Illinois saw a 3.4 percent decrease in the total number of teachers.
“Universities across the state of Illinois are seeing enrollment numbers drop for teaching and also completion numbers drop for teaching. which means then it’s harder for us to fill the positions that we have open at Peoria Public Schools,” PPS Recruiter Peter Kobak said.
It is not just full-time teachers as substitute teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria aids are also in demand.
Recent changes made at the state level may help get people in classrooms such as a requirement that was recently removed that Koback says got in the way of many potential teachers.
“It was a test that was holding up a lot of people basically because of financial burdens so hundreds of qualified teachers will be able to get their license that were not able to get it before,” he explained.
The state also grants “full reciprocity” for out of state teachers meaning they will automatically qualify for their teaching credentials in Illinois if they decide to teach here.
Administrators at Dunlap School District and say though all of their teaching positions are filled the shortage is clear by the low number of application, especially from first-time teachers, that they receive.