St. Louis Public Schools looks to recruit more teachers with more than 275 open positions

St. Louis Public Schools has new media ads to sell the district to potential hires.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:50 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - St. Louis Public Schools has new media ads to sell the district to potential hires.

George Sells with the district says teacher shortages have been a problem since before the pandemic.

“This is a district that has made so many changes over the last several years and so many improvements both in the schools themselves and also in the environment that we provide for our employees,” Sells says.

Sells says the district has about 15% of its teacher positions unfilled, which is about 279 openings.

That’s why the district is focusing on incentives to recruit and retain, with ads touting tuition assistance for college and certification training.

“Eliminate the barriers that are there for people who want to become certified teachers and for some reason have not been able to quite get there,” Sells says. “Sometimes those barriers are financial. Sometimes they have to do with training.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 45% of public schools nationwide have at least one vacant teaching position.

The Missouri chapter of the National Education Association spokesperson Mark Jones says the state is one of the lowest paying in the country.

“Nobody goes into education thinking they’re going to have a corner office or drive a luxury car,” Jones says. “You do it because you care about students and you care about children. But definitely, people want to be able to support their family.”

News 4 took a deeper look into the 2022 average total teacher salary in Missouri and in districts in the Metro.

Average total teacher salary in 2022
Across Missouri$53,523
St. Louis City$50,905

Sells says you can’t just look at the numbers because benefits play a crucial role.

“They don’t pay for health insurance for themselves,” Sells says. “It’s covered. Vacation is excellent. Things like that that are the added benefits that make a job more than just a paycheck. There’s something to be said for the work environment too.”

Sells says SLPS will provide an additional 3% pay raise within the next few months.