Arizona Rural School Districts Facing Teacher Shortages

July 17, 2014

School starts in a few weeks, but some Arizona districts say they’re facing teacher shortages. Districts in rural parts of the state are scrambling to fill full-time and substitute teaching jobs.

Some districts are having a tough time recruiting teachers who don’t mind low pay and overcrowded classrooms. According to one study, the state will have a hard time retaining teachers over the next five years. Katie Rogerson is with Tucson Values Teachers, a group that surveyed more than 1,400 teachers in southern Arizona late last year.

"27 percent are saying they are not likely to be teaching, and then you’ve got an additional 37 percent say they aren’t sure," Rogerson said. "So, when you combine those two you are looking at well over 60 percent and that’s really shocking.”

But, Arizona’s education system may see an infusion of cash soon. A few days ago a judge ruled state lawmakers improperly withheld almost $3 billion from school districts over the past five years. The state has to come up with an additional $316 million for the next school year.