Nearly 2,600 Arizona teaching positions remain vacant this school year

It's a crisis in the classroom as the state grips with hundreds of open teaching positions.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:39 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona has faced a teacher shortage for years and now we’re getting a better understanding of the impact it’s having on our schools.

A new survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association shows thousands of teacher vacancies in the new school year. According to the study, 2,577 teacher positions remain open weeks into the school year.

The study also found more than 4,000 teaching positions are being filled by people who do not meet the standard teacher requirements. Some might have an emergency teacher certificate while others could be in programs like Teach for America. The data also found more than 700 teachers have severed employment recently.

“I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but personally, I call it a crisis,” Susan Lugo with Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association said.

Lugo is also the Executive Director of Human Resources for the Creighton School District.

“This is my 12th or 13th year in human resources and then I was a school principal for 10 years prior to that. This has been the hardest year to fill positions with high-quality educators in the classroom and it breaks my heart because it really affects the children in the classroom if they don’t have a teacher in front of them that’s prepared,” Lugo said.

130 Arizona school districts and charter schools participated in this new survey. It’s the 7th year the group has done a study like this.

“It’s very concerning as an HR professional here in Arizona, with our cost of living increases and inflation on the rise and our need to keep our salaries competitive. I were very concerned about the children here in Arizona that they have high-quality teachers and professionals to help support their education,” Lugo said.

The survey also found high vacancies with many school positions like bus drivers, cafeteria staff and speech pathologists.