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School districts are seeing educators leave profession at alarming rate

(WGEM)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 9:34 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 22, 2022 at 8:46 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - So many places are hiring right now, and schools are no exception.

It is yet another side effect of the pandemic.

Just in School District 20, there are 230 job openings alone. Schools are calling it a crisis in education, and parents say it is hurting their kids ability to learn.

“To say that education is in the midst of a crisis is not an understatement,” said Allison Cortez, the chief communications officer at D-20. “We are at a place in education where if we don’t figure this out, education will be forever changed in the future.”

The principal at the Da Vinci Academy in Colorado Springs says it’s not a new issue.

“We are hoping to be able to hire, but the reality is, several of those positions have been open now for a few months. And I don’t have applicants,” Victory Molina, principal at the Da Vinci Academy said. “Quite frankly, the applicants that we have had, have looked at our pay structure and gotten the specifics about what they would be paid if they were hired and said, ‘We would love to work for you, but I can’t afford to take that pay cut.’”

It’s a problem that has direct consequences on students. 11 News spoke with parents who say their daughter in special education at Da Vinci Academy is struggling as more and more paraprofessionals walk away.

The department is supposed to have seven paraprofessionals -- right now they have three.

“She’s really not going to thrive and continue to improve when she is losing her consistency, and not only that but the relationships between the paras,” Hollee Winder said.

According to EducationData.org, Colorado ranks 36th in the nation in spending and funding. This is a problem schools say they don’t have much control over. Schools are funded through state revenue and property taxes.

“We are very aware of this and we are dealing with this on a daily basis. We are throwing the resources that we have and brainpower that we have to try to fix it but it really is bigger than us,” Cortez said.

The family and schools say they hope to receive more funding from the state so student’s educations don’t suffer...But right now they are just hoping that some people fill the openings, and stay there.

“It is time for parents to wake up a little bit and say, ‘You know what? We’ve got to do something to fix these pressing issues, or like my wife said, you aren’t going to have the staff needed to get the kids their best start in life that they deserve,” Graeme Winder said.

District 20 is having a job fair coming up to try and fill the hundreds of openings there. Click here to see job openings at D20 and for more info on the job fair.

The legislative session is underway at the state capitol. We reached out to the governor’s office to see what’s being done about education funding in in Colorado. As of Friday night, we haven’t heard back yet.

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