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Schools sing the teacher vacancy blues

Public schools in Kansas and Missouri are singing the teacher vacancy blues.

Last year, 19% of Kansas positions and 11% of Missouri teacher posts were vacant.The states especially need Special Education teachers.

Kansas City-area schools are rehiring retired teachers and training counselors and coaches to teach due to a critical teacher shortage.

The shortage affects urban, rural and some suburban schools.

Kansas and Missouri education officials say low salaries don’t help. The state education department says Missouri’s average starting teacher salary is $31,842, while new Kansas teachers earn $34,883.

Ann Jarrett, director of teaching and learning for the Missouri National Education Association, says teachers’ varied skills are in high demand and can land them jobs that pay more.

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