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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Sep 17, 2014

While the school year in Arizona is already deep underway, the latest reports indicate a significant amount of vacancies in the state’s education field. The most recent analysis reveals Arizona K-12 schools are hobbled by no less than 527 vacancies.

How bad is the education employment gap in Arizona? The situation has been described as reaching ‘crisis’ levels. The 12 News watchdog team calculated job openings as listed through The Arizona Education Employment Board website, providing for positions that overlapped.

Making matters potentially more worrisome is the bulk of open positions are listed as full-time positions for teachers, suggesting there is an immense shortage. Other listings provided insight into hiring gaps for counselors, substitutes, and teacher aides. It’s important to note that the findings are only a minimum estimate, many job openings are calling for multiple teachers.

State educators have described 2014 conditions as remarkably poor. Cecilia Johnson, Associate Superintendent of the Highly Effective Teachers and Leaders Division, stated, “We typically have that problem (vacancies) in our rural areas. They struggle the most with filling positions but this year we’ve seen quite a number of districts in the Phoenix area, larger districts going through this. And that’s something unique.”

Johnson points out that some areas are worse than others. One particular Phoenix-area district has 63 teaching positions left vacant to begin the school year. That lack of teachers all but guarantees overcrowding in classrooms and subsequent degrading of the education system in Arizona.

Full-time teachers are losing time to adequately prepare their lessons, their time already stretched so thin. Currently, Arizona is considered one of the worst states in regards to public education in America.

To what do analysts attribute the mass vacancies? Johnson believes it’s a combination of low-paying salaries that have remained stagnant and stronger competition elsewhere. Districts frequently compete with one another, promising higher pay to potential employees that would reinforce their systems.