Oklahoma Schools Facing More Than 800 Teaching Vacancies

Wednesday, August 20th 2014, 7:55 pm
By: Karl Torp

School is now in session for most districts across the state, but hundreds of classes started without a teacher.

Schools have been scrambling to fill teaching vacancies since classes resumed.

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association released the results of its recent survey.

It concludes there are just over 800 teaching vacancies in the state right now. 

However, OSSBA heard from only 75 percent of all school districts for the survey, so it believes the number is closer to 1,000.

The OSSBA says the state is losing out to surrounding states that offer their teachers more money.

“A signing bonus is ready,” OSSBA Executive Director Shawn Hime explained. 

He thinks teachers can make $3,000 to $5,000 more annually out of the state.

The number of people who have been "emergency certified," so they can teach in an Oklahoma classroom, has climbed from 38 in 2012 to 246 so far this year.

There are programs to encourage teachers to stay in Oklahoma.

This year, the University of Oklahoma started paying student loans of teachers who stayed in the state after getting their degrees.