New survey reveals more than 2,000 teacher vacancies across Arizona

Schools around the Phoenix area are dealing with massive staffing shortages, we're taking a deep dive into the numbers.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 9:24 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Most Arizona students are back in the classroom now, but many districts across the state are still understaffed as they continue to experience a major teacher shortage.

According to a new survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, there are more than 2,000 general teacher vacancies in Arizona along with more than 800 special education teacher openings. Because the survey was done over the summer, numbers could be slightly different now, but it’s apparent that districts are still having trouble filling some teaching positions.

“We’ve had teacher shortages before in the past, but this is a year like no other,” Susan Lugo, president of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, said. Lugo also works as the Executive Director of Human Resources for the Creighton School District. “I’ve been in human resources for 12 years and they are truly at crisis level, especially for our special education teachers.”

Arizona’s Family asked a dozen districts about teacher openings and here’s a snapshot of the current vacancies:

  • Mesa Public Schools: 100
  • Phoenix Union: 100
  • Paradise Valley Schools: 60 (+ additional part-time positions)
  • Gilbert Public Schools: 43 (this includes special education teachers)
  • Chandler Unified: 14

Because of this, parents might notice a long-term sub in their kid’s classroom or a reading specialist temporarily reassigned to teach.

Lugo says the Creighton School District is working with universities to offer paid student teaching positions along with partnering with other agencies like Teach for America, Klassroom, Teachers of Tomorrow, and International Alliance Group.

Peoria Unified has a handful of teacher openings right now, but the superintendent says that wasn’t the case earlier this summer.

“About a month ago, we had close to 100 and we are down under 10,” Dr. Jason Reynolds said. He says it’s been an all-hands-on-deck situation, recruiting and re-positioning some staff in order to make sure kids have teachers in classrooms when school starts on Wednesday. “This has required a great deal of work and sacrifice from teachers across the district. We’ve had to move teachers from different schools to others. We’ve had to ask our teachers who are in support roles to go back into the classroom to be able to support kids.”