Confidential survey tracks movement of instructors between local schools

Fifteen of the 21 schools in the Greater Southern Tier Board of Cooperative Education (GST BOCS) hired an unprecedented 33 teachers from nearby districts before the current academic year began, according to a confidential survey The Evening Tribune obtained.

The result was what a superintendent called “the domino effect” that created additional vacancies and further compounded the challenges of searching for qualified certified teachers.

A total of 31 teachers from 12 of the schools resigned from the districts, the survey said.

The title of the report is “New Teachers/Stolen Teachers.”

The report doesn’t reveal the names of the precise districts that lost or hired teachers from schools in or outside GST BOCES.

A total of 20 teaching positions remained unfilled just before the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the report said.

“Hiring has become increasingly more challenging for teaching positions,” one superintendent said with the condition of anonymity. “Not too long ago we would have 100-plus applicants for every elementary school teaching position.”

Recruitment ads to fill vacancies now typically generate at most half a dozen applications, several superintendents agreed.

“Filling unique positions such as technology, foreign language, English as a second language, math, science and even high school English have been especially tough,” he said.

The result, another superintendent said, is that “When school districts hire from each other, it creates a domino effect: openings create hiring which creates more openings.”

A third superintendent said “We’re facing both unprecedented shortage of teachers as well as an unprecedented movement of teachers among districts.”

The challenge “becomes especially problematic when we approach the end of August and are forced to make changes after the school year begins,” the second superintendent said.

The first superintendent said he blamed “a lot of factors for the problem: we could still be rebounding from several years of budget cuts and teacher layoffs with limited numbers of teacher vacancies when hiring was not happening.”

Schools that traditionally educated potential educators graduated fewer teachers during the recent period when budget cuts and teacher layoffs were prevalent.

The second superintendent said the reasons for the changes are many: “Some teachers decide they want to make a change to be closer to home, earn a higher wage or just for the challenge of working in a different school system.”

“We have to do a better job as an educational community of letting our potential future teachers know what an amazing and rewarding career teaching is,” the third superintendent said.

Additionally, a total of 65 teaching positions opened last school year because of retirements from 14 of the 18 schools, the report said.

GST BOCES member schools are Addision, Alfred-Almond, Arkport, Avoca, Bath-Haverling, Bradford, Campbell-Savona, Canaseraga, Canisteo-Greenwood, Corning-Painted Post, Elmira City, Elmira Heights, Hammondsport, Hornell, Horseheads, Jasper-Troupsburg, Odessa-Montour, Prattsburg, Spencer-Van Etten, Watkins Glen and Waverly.