WICHITA, Kansas — The Independence, Missouri School District is encouraging Kansas teachers to apply for jobs across the state line. Their recruiting tool? Giant billboards in Kansas.
One billboard, located on West Kellogg near Goddard, says the school district is hiring teachers for the 2015 – 2016 school year. The billboard also indicates that employment is “on the rise.”
KSN sat down with representatives of Goddard Public Schools to learn their thoughts on the billboard.
“To see a a district that’s not in our state advertising for teachers in Kansas, quite honestly, [it] is very disheartening to me and it’s sad because it is a sign of where we are in our profession right now in the state of Kansas,” said Jeff Hersh, the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services at Goddard Public Schools.
Hersh told KSN News that the district already lost two teachers this year to the Independence School District, ISD.
“Anytime you have less teachers you have more kids in a class with one teacher… which obviously impacts the ability to meet the needs of each individual student,” said Hersh.
Representatives with the Missouri district did not deny the fact that Kansas’ budget concerns played a part in the district’s creative advertising decision.
“It was something that we looked at and thought that we could capitalize on. The fact that there would be teachers and other educators from Kansas that may be willing to cross the border,” explained Dr. Dale Herl, the superintendent for the Independence School District in Missouri.
After years of legal fights to adequately fund public schools in Kansas, most teachers advocates we spoke with say we should not be surprised that many Kansas teachers are accepting teaching jobs in other states.
Julie Wilson is the coordinator of KansasTeachingJobs.com. Wilson says the “Kansas teacher exodus” is a serious concern.
“We’re carrying twice the number [of job postings] we would normally carry this time of year,” said WIlson.
The state website, Wilson said, normally has about 300 teacher openings posted online this time of year. However, at last report, the website reports about 500 openings.
“I think there’s concern in that the applicant pool tends to dry up. I’ve heard that from a number of administrators. There’s just nobody out there,” said Wilson.
Until the education landscape, particularly, improves in the Sunflower State, educators and school districts across Kansas can see why they’re losing teachers to neighboring states.
“Unfortunately, we’re not going to to move in a direction until we have a very good idea of where our finances are,” said Hersh.
For more information about jobs available at ISD, visit http://www.isdschools.org/.