SOUTHERN COLO. — According to a recent report from the Colorado Department of Education, there are currently six-thousand unfilled teaching positions across the state.

“We are in a nationwide critical shortage for educators, and unfortunately, our district is not exclusive to that,” said Lynette Bonfiglio, Public Information Officer for Pueblo County School District 70.

Schools all across southern Colorado are now currently facing this shortage in educators.

“We have about 140 available positions. But again, that does encompass all of our departments,” Bonfiglio said.

Schools said coming out of the pandemic was only part of the problem.

“Prior and going into the pandemic, we were seeing a teacher shortage,” said Amy Roden, Director of Human Resources at Widefield School District 3. “That shortage was attributed to fewer people going into the profession.”

Amy Roden talks about shortages within her district. Credit: Michael Duran

Now, this has led to schools trying to fill teaching positions and various other roles before August.

“We’ve got, you know, some counselor positions, open teacher positions, open science and math,” Roden said.

“We are definitely hiring for many positions in D11 and experiencing a teacher and support staff shortage,” Devra Ashby, Chief Communications Officer for Colorado Springs School District 11 said. “For example, we have at least five security officer positions open currently.”

Both D11 and Harrison School District 2 are hunting for bus drivers.

“The harder to fill teaching positions are typically math and science, special education and specials teachers — art, music and band,” said Christine O’Brien, Public Information officer for D2. “We also are seeing a shortage of bus drivers — which we will train on the job.”

With these shortages, school districts have had to get creative.

“One of the newer things that we did is we have our kind of taking our job fair booth on the road,” Roden said. “We’ve taken it to local basketball games. We’ve taken it out in our community.”

Another way is getting students interested in teaching as a career.

“We’ve started with our students as young as elementary school,” Roden said. “It’s getting them interested in the profession and getting them to realize how exciting the teaching profession is.”

And, bringing in teachers through other means.

“Pueblo District 70 is hosting our very first job fair at the St. Cristo Arts and Conference Center,” Bonfiglio said. “And we are looking for the best educators and we’re hiring all positions, but definitely targeting those teacher front line positions.”

Pueblo County School District 70 is hosting a job fair on June 16th and 17th. More information on that can be found here.