SARATOGA SPRINGS —School districts across New York have been dealing with significant teacher shortages, and Saratoga Springs is no exception.
At the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education meeting on January 25, Director of Personnel Development Hillary Brewer delivered the 2024-2025 Staffing and Pre-budget Outlook presentation. In it, she discussed the district’s struggles to recruit educators. “Recruiting candidates is extremely difficult,” Brewer said. “We do know that we are in a crisis.”
Brewer said that one applicant for a vacant technology position at Saratoga Springs High School had twelve other job offers. “This is what we’re up against,” Brewer said. “We’re all fighting for the same very small pool of candidates.”
Brewer said that her Human Resources Coordinator Michael Ngadi traveled across New York for two months recruiting applicants. “This is the most we’ve ever recruited,” Brewer said.
According to Ngadi, all 700 districts in the state are competing for the same teachers. Those districts are also up against schools from Florida and California, which use, among other things, their states’ warm climates to attract applicants. “There are so many barriers that are impacting how we recruit and impacting the entire teaching profession, but we’ve just got to work through it,” Ngadi said.
The inability to fill certain positions has resulted in both less educational opportunities for students and more work piled onto teachers’ plates. A two-section technology course was collapsed into one because an additional teacher wasn’t hired. Brewer also said that multiple teachers in the science department are teaching six classes at once.
Brewer said that one possible long-term solution to the teaching shortage is to encourage current students to become educators. “Everybody that is part of education needs to really be focusing on growing a pipeline of educators,” Brewer said.
Teacher shortages have been widespread across the state. According to a November 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Education, New York “has faced geographically widespread and persistent teacher shortages.”