News Story

Teacher Shortage? District Gets 1,177 Applications for 30 Openings

Superintendent says 'abundance of applicants without proper certification'

Vicksburg Community Schools had 160 full-time teaching positions during the 2018-19 school year. During both 2018 and 2019, the district had and filled 15 openings for a teacher position, for which it received 1,177 applications.

On average, about 45 individuals applied for each Vicksburg teacher opening in 2018; there were about 33 applicants for each opening in 2019.

Despite these numbers, Vicksburg Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said that he thinks the state of Michigan is suffering a teacher shortage.

In an email, O’Neill acknowledged that the district did receive many applications for its open teaching jobs.

“However, most of the applicants already had a teaching job in another district or state,” he said. “In addition, we had an abundance of applicants without proper certification.”

O’Neill added that some of the applicants did not have a Michigan teaching certificate and some only had an out-of-state certificate.

“In addition, some did not have the correct endorsement for the position they applied for,” O’Neill said. “We have been fortunate to be able to fill most of our vacant teacher positions in Vicksburg. We currently have one unfilled position.”

Enrollment and student-to-teacher ratios have remained steady over the past 11 years at Vicksburg, located in Kalamazoo County. The district had 159.95 full-time teaching positions in 2018-19 and 2,660 students. That’s one teacher for every 16.63 students. Vicksburg had 158.45 full-time teachers and 2,691 students in 2007-08, or one teacher for every 16.98 students.

In 2018, Vicksburg received 101 applications for a first-grade teaching position and the same number for a third-grade teaching position. In contrast, just four people applied for a middle school special education teaching position posted in 2019, which was the lowest number for any opening.

O’Neill said his belief that there is a teacher shortage in Michigan is based on a survey done by the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators.

The MASA surveyed 297 school districts and found that 60% had at least one teaching vacancy.