A statewide teacher shortage is impacting students and teachers in the Tri-States. School administrators in Quincy said it’s having an impact on students in the classroom.
Quincy Junior High School is one school in the district that doesn’t have enough special education teachers, meaning the ones they do have are having to do double duty and that’s affecting students.
"It affects us here because we had a position open for a special ed math teacher almost until the week before school," QHS Special Education Teacher Laura Schreacke said.
But all schools in the Quincy Public School District aren’t that lucky. District officials said they’ve been searching for special education teachers at Rooney Elementary and Quincy Junior High School for more than a year, something that Schreacke knows is problematic for students.
"They’re probably giving them the minimal of what they can, instead of the maximum of what they can," Schreacke said. "Like right now with my job, I can give them my maximum time. There, they probably can’t go beyond the minimal they can give them until they have to move to somebody else."
The personnel director for Quincy Public Schools said that due to this teacher shortage, they’re always hiring, sometimes up to a year in advance to ensure that all students get the best education possible.
"Anytime we’re down a teacher or two, it certainly affects the students and the case load and the work load for the colleagues in that building," QPS Personnel Director Lisa Otten said. "We have fabulous teachers that jump in and help whenever they need to, but the ideal situation is to have classroom teachers in with kids."
Teachers said the shortage is causing them to adjust schedules and work more hours, which is why the high school has implemented two new special education classes this year in hopes of encouraging students to go into special education, so they can grow their own teachers.
For now, Schreacke is hoping they find a way to fix the problem for the students’ best interest.
"If there’s a spot, then there’s a need and that needs to be filled," Schreacke said.
Officials with the Quincy Public School District said they are hiring right now for both of the special education positions along with other teaching positions for next year. You can apply online at the school district’s website.