District 204 and Illinois’ Teacher Shortage

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The District 204 School Board recently discussed the teacher shortage facing the state and how it’s affecting the district.

Special education and bilingual teachers are just two positions of several that District 204 is finding it increasingly difficult to hire for.

A big reason for that is the dwindling supply of teachers.

“There’s a national trend that overall, the teacher programs are down people enrolling and completing 23 percent, but we’re down 53 percent in Illinois,” said Doug Eccarius, assistant superintendent of human resources for District 204.

In 2011, over 32,000 people were enrolled in teaching education programs in Illinois. In 2016, that number was just over 12,000.

That has led school districts to become more competitive and proactive in recruiting educators.

District 204 has increased outreach to colleges and raised its starting teacher salary this year to $44,470 per year – in line with comparable local school districts.

Despite the difficulty in hiring some teaching positions, District 204 did retain about 95 percent of its licensed staff from last year.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.