State facing shortage of teachers - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

State facing shortage of teachers

(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The supply doesn't seem to be keeping up with demand for Michigan's schools.

As more teachers retire, districts are finding it hard to fill the gaps.

Lisa Leimeister, director of Greater Heights Academy in Flint, said qualified teachers are harder and harder to come by.

"It's a really critical problem right now," Leimeister said.

Leimeister said over the past couple of years she has seen what used to be stacks of job applications simply disappear. She said the last time she had an open teacher position she only received a handful of applications.

She thinks many people are steering clear of the education field all together.

"I think the shortage is going to make a shift in how we look at educators and also how we pay them. You know, the whole supply and demand thing," Leimeister said.

She said she tries to lure teachers into her school through incentives, but those incentives aren't necessarily financial because a lot of times the money just isn't there.

She said she tries to get them by creating a supportive work environment that treats them fairly, but she often does see money coming into play.

"What's going to happen, you're going to have to raise the salary of the teachers. Because we're going to have to compete with other industries," Leimeister said.

School administrators said they hope this shortage encourages people to go into the teaching profession.

Leimeister said there is a growing need for extra teachers, especially in urban areas like Flint. She said the state is going to have to help fill a lot of the educational vacancies.

"We don't have that financial structure in school systems to support that. So I think the states going to have to do something about that. They're going to have to increase the amount of money coming into the schools," Leimeister said.

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