The number of teachers declines in the Land of Lincoln

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According to NPR Illinois, Western Illinois had nearly 50 online job positions at the beginning of the school year. Many of those teaching positions are in McDonough, Hancock, Fulton and Schuyler counties.

Warsaw Community School District luckily has filled all teaching positions for the year.

Warsaw Schools Superintendent Bob Gound said, "I think we are very fortunate this year, we were able to fill all of our openings with qualified and quality candidates.”

Fortunate, because universities in Western Illinois are seeing fewer people entering the teaching workforce.

"Nationwide that we see about a 40% decline and we are experiencing that as well here,” said Glenda McCarty, Quincy University’s Director of Teacher Education.

Regional Superintendent John Meixner, says the Illinois teacher shortage is due to three things: pensions, licensing and salaries.

Teachers are having to work longer for pensions, Illinois' licensing process is extensive and salaries are on the low end.

Fewer new teachers means, fewer fighting to get in the classroom.

"So a position that we might have gotten 30 or 40 applications for just a few years ago, we're now seeing maybe 3 to 5 applications,” said Gound.

"Our graduates now will get jobs. We get a phone call every week of school districts in the area you know with their anticipated openings and what they'll need for next school year. So yes our students will all, it's not a problem with them finding a job, or getting a job, we just don’t have enough graduates to fulfill those positions,” says McCarty.

Many teachers are leaving Illinois to work in education in higher paying states such as Iowa and Missouri.

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