Wichita Public Schools will hold an interview fair Monday, hoping to fill 120 vacant teaching positions.
“We did it last year and it was successful,” said Susan Arensman, spokeswoman for the district.
The fair creates a way to quickly fill vacancies by having potential candidates and employers gather at the same place, Arensman said.
The large number of open positions is due to the negative environment surrounding public education and a district-wide early retirement program, said Shannon Krysl, chief human resources officer for the district.
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The retirement program was put in place for people hired before July 1996, allowing teachers to retire by age 50, Krysl said. It was put in place to get teachers to retire, now the district wants them to stay.
“The pool of teacher applicants is shrinking, and it’s shrinking substantially,” Krysl said, pointing to a decline in people getting teaching degrees in Kansas.
At the beginning of the year, there were about 400 open teaching spots. The decrease to 120 shows promise, Krysl said.
The district is having the most difficulty finding special education teachers; the state of Kansas requires them to have a master’s degree.
“It’s very difficult for us to fill these special education positions,” Krysl said.
The Interview Fair will take place at the Joyce Focht Instructional Center, 412 S. Main, from 9 a.m. until noon.
Supriya Sridhar: 316-268-6246, Supriyasridhar.