K-12 EDUCATION

Special Education staffing could fall short this school year

Aug 9, 2023, 9:00 AM

Special Education staffing could suffer this fall....

In this photo taken Sept. 28, 2011, Ronald Reagan Elementary Extended Resources teacher Annie Edwards, right, leads a lesson with students in the school's Special Education class for autistic children Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 at the Nampa, Idaho school. (AP File PhotO

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — It’s getting harder for schools to keep up their Special Education staffing.

Land Findley with Weber School District says there are shortages in a lot of departments. But Special Education is, by far, their greatest need.

“We’ve done a lot better job in the school system, and probably society in general, in identifying children with those types of needs,” said Findley. “As that increases, that does put a strain on trying to hire and keep quality people.”

It’s especially seen among aids for Special Education.

Findley thinks that they struggle to hire aids because many are not offered in full-time capacities. And Special Education classes need more aids than a typical classroom — because of the additional help the students need. 

“It’s a very challenging job. It takes a special type of person to work in those classrooms and work with students with special needs,” Findley said. “It’s just been challenging to get good, quality individuals that want to work with children, particularly in that environment.”

While Special Education is its biggest staffing shortage, Findley said that there are needs in a lot of support positions.  This includes aids, lunch workers, crossing guards and bus drivers.

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Special Education staffing could fall short this school year