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Teacher shortage looms over central Illinois

CHILLICOTHE, Il. - A new statewide survey from the Regional School Superintendents has found the Illinois teacher shortage is at an alarming level. Two years after the initial warnings, the number of teacher applicants is dropping drastically.

The study shows 89% of central Illinois districts are seeing significantly fewer qualified teaching candidates.

“It’s an absolute nightmare,” said Dr. Chad Allison IVC Supt. He adds, “It started with math and science but it's spread now to all of our areas. There's really not an area where we feel confident when we post a position anymore where we are going to have a surplus of candidates.”

Allison says his district is one of the more than half in Illinois that is also seeing worse availability in substitute teachers.

Too fill the void, districts are now having teachers cover more class periods, taking away from their prep time.

“Especially if it is an emergency teachers have to redesign the entire lesson plan for that unit in order to fit in lessons they weren't planning,” said Michael Dimock, Geometry teacher at IVC.

Hoping to increase the number of available teachers, Allison encourages the state to draw back on the qualifications to become a teacher.

“We need to get some of the people back in and let the building administrators have that experience,” said Allison. He adds, “We need to let them gain experience as a substitute or as an aid in a building and then say I think they’ll be able to teach down the road.”

Dr. Allison also said candidates are turning down jobs for financial reasons some even moving to surrounding states with better retirement plans. Some of the areas with the worst shortages are special education and foreign languages


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