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Teacher Needs Continue In South Dakota

August 6, 2014, 6:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Teacher Needs Continue In South Dakota

As the school year approaches, some teaching positions haven't been filled in South Dakota.

School administrators say what they're calling a teacher shortage is making it very hard for districts to find the right candidates.

In the northeast part of the state, it's even a struggle for Aberdeen. Its superintendent says teacher applicant pools are shrinking. Farther north and east in Sisseton, the high school had a Math teaching position that didn't receive any applicants.

"There's definitely a shortage for teachers, more so in the Math and English and Science areas," high school Principal Jim Frederick said.

When Frederick couldn't fill certain positions in the district including Math and English teachers, he looked at teachers already on staff. He worked to get some of them certified to teach the needed areas.

"Fortunately, we've had some good people that were more than willing to move from their original position that they were hired to do and help us out," Frederick said.

Even after shuffling staff, the high school still could have used another English teacher. Still, with the year starting soon, Frederick says the district is in a position to move forward.

Frederick and other administrators fear the problem with become worse.

"I'm very concerned about the applicant pool or lack of and what we're going to do in the future," Frederick said.

The district advertised throughout South Dakota and surrounding states this year.

"We offered a $1,000 signing bonus with those positions along with a brief description of the area, what the region has to offer," Frederick said.

Frederick deals with teacher shortage problems in South Dakota at the high school level, but he says it spans all grades.

Frederick is also concerned about replacing teachers due to retire in the near future.

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