Bay Area Schools Lack Teachers for Fall

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Bay Area schools will face a shortage of teachers as they open later this month.

The Oakland Unified School District still lacks 77 teachers to complete its staff, and is asking long-term substitutes to fill in, as well, reducing the number of classrooms from fourth through twelfth grades by “overloading” classes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle reports that San Ramon Valley Unified lacks 50 teachers. According to district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich, the district took out an ad looking for teachers for the first time in years. Graswich blamed state budget cuts for the problem, asserting, “It’s fair to say that most districts in California are challenged this year with the teacher shortage. We’re finally beginning to see the effects of the years of budget cuts, which led to teacher layoffs, which led to people not going into the profession.”

The state Commission on Teacher Credentialing noted a drop from 45,000 people enrolled in teacher preparation programs in 2008 to less than 20,000 in 2013, the Chronicle notes.

Lita Blanc, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, complained that San Francisco teachers have left the profession because of insufficient salaries and rent that is too high. The average salary for a teacher in San Francisco is $69,400 per year; the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Excelsior/Outer Mission neighborhood, the cheapest area of the city, runs $1,950 per month.

Eric Engdahl, the head of Teacher Education at California State University East Bay, told KRON 4:

We always knew there was going to be a generational change of teachers, that the baby boomers were going to retire. But when the recession hit, a lot of those baby boomers decided to hold on for a few more years. … Now that the recession is over, a lot of those teachers have decided to retire. … Before the recession we had twice as many candidates in the pipeline as we do now.