What’s the lure for new teachers in Utah?

Aug 17, 2023, 9:00 PM

teachers in Utah...

Fourth grade teacher Emily Weigel shows her students that it might be hard to fit under their desks if they squat instead of sitting cross legged as they prepare to participate in the Great Utah Shakeout, the statewide earthquake preparedness drill, at Canyon View Elementary School in Cottonwood Heights on Thursday, April 20, 2023. (Kristen Murphey/Deseret News)

(Kristen Murphey/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — According to sampling conducted by KSL NewsRadio, a combined total of roughly 1,800 teachers have been hired across five Utah school districts. With so many teachers being hired, what’s the lure for new teachers in Utah?

KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic discuss this and analyze a few of Utah’s school district’s needs when it comes to teachers.

How many new teachers does Utah need?

 According to Envision Utah, the Beehive State loses approximately 3,200 teachers per year and gains approximately 2,400. This leaves the state at an 800-teacher deficit.

“It’s not surprising at all that the numbers are very high in every district where they have to hire hundreds of teachers to replace these retiring instructors,” Noriega said. 

Superintendent of the Jordan School District Anthony Godfrey said it hired 450 new teachers for the 2023-2024 school year.

“We’re a growing school district … Every year, we hire hundreds and hundreds of teachers just because we’re a large district and we’ve had about the same level of turnover for many years now,” he said.

Along with this, Canyons School District hired around 300 new teachers; Granite School District hired around 368; Alpine School District around 400; Davis School District around 330.

“So clearly, there’s people who are interested in the job,” Dujanovic said.

What’s in it for new teachers in Utah?

Superintendent Godfrey said a part of the lure comes from the “allocation from the legislature of taxpayer dollars to help support increased teacher pay.”

“We’ve appreciated that support and it’s really made an impact on the number of applicants we’ve had,” he said. “So we’ve had a lot of highly qualified applicants coming for these positions and we’re very grateful for it.”

According to Dujanovic, this increase in teachers pay sums to roughly a $42,000 raise. This brings the average Utah teacher’s salary to roughly $59,600 per year.

“All of those numbers, it’s enough to make me want to sign up,” Debbie said.

How do I become a teacher in Utah?

According to HR Licensing specialist with the Jordan School District Brittany Bawer, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) makes it easy to apply to become an educator. She said you can do it on the USBE website.

“You would just submit your transcripts, do a background check, and complete some course modules,” Bawer said. “They would authorize you to begin teaching in a classroom for up to three years while you complete the rest of the licensure requirement.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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What’s the lure for new teachers in Utah?