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Kansas teacher shortage continues to get worse

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The teacher shortage in Kansas is getting worse, and it doesn’t look to get better anytime soon.

Kansas City, Kan.,  has been hit hard by the lack of education funding from the state.

They are looking to hire dozens of teachers but struggling to find anyone to fill those positions.

Kathy Busch is on the Kansas Board of Education and says not only are many teachers leaving Kansas for better pay elsewhere, new teachers just aren’t applying to work here.

3,700 hundred teachers left Kansas last year, and currently, there are more than 300 teacher vacancies across the state. But at a recent education job fair, Busch says only 78 teacher applicants showed up.

A big reason is pay. Kansas teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation, earning $9,000 less on average than other teachers across the nation. Also, Governor Sam Brownback’s policies make it easier to fire teachers without giving them an appeal has made many unhappy.

Plus other states are actively pursuing unhappy Kansas teachers. The Independence, Mo., School District recently put up billboards across Kansas as a recruitment tool.

"I believe, I don't know, maybe it's the eternal optimist in me, I believe it's going to turn around," Busch said. "But I don't see it in the short-term."

And with Kansas still struggling to bring in tax revenue, there’s just no money right now to increase education funding.