Alabama school districts working to fill teaching positions for next school year

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The school year may be winding down for students, but districts across the state are ramping up their hiring efforts in an attempt to fill thousands of teaching positions.

This is happening as lawmakers debate the state education budget, which determines if teachers will get a pay raise this year.

Officials with the Alabama Educators Association said districts will start hiring in June and July for the fall school semester, but many are waiting for lawmakers to pass the education budget to see how many teachers will return next year and exactly how much money they’ll have to hire with.

AEA leaders said once the budget passes, there will be a better idea of how many more educators are going to leave the profession this year, but there are already thousands of teacher and staff positions to fill.

“Very much still in an employee shortage in Alabama,” AEA Rep William Tunnell said. “It’s an all-out race once the budgets have been approved.”

Tunnell said the applicant pool is smaller than previous years and very competitive because every district in the state pulls from the same place. He said they are still seeing early retirement, people leaving the profession all together, and teacher burnout, but last year’s increase to teacher salaries is helping retain some employees.

“What we are seeing this year has still yet to be seen because a lot of people wait and they make their decisions about returning very late,” Tunnell said. “So, it is kind of yet to be seen how much turnover we’ll have. We do predict we will have comparable turnover to the last year or so.”

Tunnell said they recruited over 10,000 new members into the AEA, which he said is indicative to the amount of turnover they have had in school districts across the state.

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