The 2022-23 K-12 school year begins in less than two months and Florida school districts are facing teacher shortages.
As of this week, Duval County Public Schools reported 529 vacancies for certified teachers, up 23% — nearly 100 positions — compared to the start of last school year. This year’s vacancies are almost double the number Duval saw at the beginning of 2020-21 school year.
In addition, Orange County Public Schools lists over 200 K-12 teacher openings and Brevard County Public Schools lists 235 teacher vacancies.
And while the numbers are daunting they should not be surprising.
According to surveys by the Florida Education Association(FEA), the number of teacher vacancies have increased a 104% since August 2019. In August 2019, the FEA reported there were 2,135 advertised positions. This number increased to 2,962 in August 2020 and ballooned to 4,359 by January 2022.
Legislators are considering changes to Missouri’s teacher and non-certified school employee pension plans to alleviate pandemic-related teacher and staff shortages.
HB2114, sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, will reduce restrictions on pensions if a retired public school teacher returns to the classroom or to a non-teaching position in a public school. The legislation also increases from two to four years the length of time a retired teacher or retired non-certified public school employee can work while still receiving their pension.
During testimony before the House pensions committee, Rep. Black, the committee vice chairman, said similar legislation was passed by the House and died in the Senate last year as the legislative session ended in May. He said the legislation simplifies and improves the amount retirees can earn before their pensions are restricted.
Florida is facing a teacher shortage amid students and staff returning to classrooms in the last few weeks.
The Florida Education Association (FEA), the state’s largest teachers’ union, surveyed districts across Florida and found there was a 67 percent increase in vacancies compared to this time last year.