By Angela Kerndl
A statewide study from regional school superintendents found that Illinois’ serious teacher shortage continues to worsen, especially in school districts in central and southern Illinois.
The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, representing the leaders of Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers in all 102 Illinois counties, heard from over 500 school districts statewide this fall about teacher shortages.
According to the survey, 89 percent of central Illinois districts and 92 percent of southern Illinois districts have issues with staffing teaching positions with qualified candidates.
The survey also found that superintendents say 20 percent of all open positions for 2018 – more than 1,000 positions – remain unfilled or are filled by an unqualified professional, and 225 classes are being canceled because of shortages
According to the Illinois State Board of Education’s Unfilled Positions report, Champaign/Ford Regional Office of Education #9 (ROE) had 27 unfilled positions from 14 subject areas for school year 2017-2018.
Jane Quinlan, the Superintendent for ROE in Champaign and Ford counties, said special education is the area where the districts she oversees are having the most difficulty filling positions. Foreign language and English as a Second language classrooms are also difficult to find positions to fill.
She said her school districts have been working to combat the issue of teacher shortages.