Teacher Pay Still Major Contributor To State's Teacher Shortage - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Teacher Pay Still Major Contributor To State's Teacher Shortage

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The 2015 to 2016 school year has yet to begin in most districts and already it's looking like the teacher shortage is worse than last year, when at least a thousand positions across the state were unfilled. The 2015 to 2016 school year has yet to begin in most districts and already it's looking like the teacher shortage is worse than last year, when at least a thousand positions across the state were unfilled.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The 2015 to 2016 school year has yet to begin in most districts and already it's looking like the teacher shortage is worse than last year, when at least a thousand positions across the state were unfilled.

The preliminary information suggests the flat education budget did not seem to help, and the big reason is that teacher pay hasn't changed.

The National Education Association reports teachers in Oklahoma earn more, on average, than teachers in just three other states which makes it tough to attract teachers and hard to keep them.

There's no statewide estimate of the number of open positions right now, but here's what we do know..

Last year, the state school board set a record by approving 512 emergency teaching certificates. That was one way districts combated the shortage.

In July 2014, at the start of that record year, the board approved 71 emergency certifications.

This July, the board approved 182, two and a half times the 2014 number. Not a positive sign.

Districts have become more aggressive in recruiting teachers. Oklahoma City public school officials traveled to Puerto Rico this year and hired 14 teachers. That's helped, but they still have 50 open positions.

Anecdotally, we've heard that a handful of Texas teachers were prepared to take positions in the Oklahoma City school district, but backed out when the pay wasn't what had been promised. District officials haven't yet confirmed or denied that.

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association is currently surveying all districts. They expect to have a more accurate picture of this year's shortage in a couple of weeks.

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