Arizona schools chief Hoffman concerned about staffing next fall amid teacher shortage

May 24, 2022, 4:35 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday she’s worried there won’t be enough teachers for next school year amid a shortage.

“I am concerned based on what I am hearing in terms of teacher burnout and the fact that all of our neighboring states are offering teachers significant raises, whereas here in Arizona we’ve remained stagnant over the past couple years,” Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Hoffman said many districts have told her they’re having a hard time finding qualified applicants.

“Bigger districts can have over 100 teaching positions open that just don’t have applicants or don’t have competitive applicants, or qualified applicants they can hire,” she said.

Hoffman said she will have a better idea of what the staffing numbers will look like as the start of the school year gets closer, but that the districts do have a plan in place if there aren’t enough teachers.

“If it ends up there isn’t enough teachers, schools will have to use emergency certified teachers,” Hoffman said.

“The system relies on emergency certified teachers who have not gone through a teacher prep program and you only need to have your high school degree to be an emergency certified teacher.”

Hoffman said Arizona schools already rely heavily on these teachers.

She added the state has been faced with a teacher shortage for years and that districts have had to find other ways to recruit educators.

“More and more I’ve talked to school leaders who are recruiting from other countries as well,” Hoffman said. “We do have quite a few teachers in Arizona from the Philippines and some other Latin America countries as well.”

Hoffman stresses the need for local lawmakers to consider giving teachers another raise for the upcoming school year with the state sitting on a $5 billion surplus.

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Arizona schools chief Hoffman concerned about staffing next fall amid teacher shortage