Philiadelphia school board mulls $51M special ed teacher search

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(The Center Square) – Like many schools across the country, the School District of Philadelphia has had trouble finding special education teachers.

The district is willing to spend $51 million from 2020 through 2025 on a series of contracted vendors to help them solve the problem. The school board plans to review a portion of the funds during its Dec. 7 meeting.

Despite their best efforts, the district is struggling to hire special education teachers. That shortage is felt statewide from Pre-K through grade 12, according to reports from the U.S. Department of Education.

Since 2013, there has been an 8.4% decrease in teachers across the district, leaving 8,765 classroom teachers in 2022, according to district report.

The salary for a first-year teacher holding a bachelor’s degree in Philadelphia is $51,568. Due to the job’s difficulty, the district already pays more for a special education first-year teacher with the same degree at $52,516.

As of Sept. 13, there were 104 contracted teachers covering special education positions hired by vendors that would have otherwise been vacant, according to the amendment document.

A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia school district referred questions to the packet of information provided online to the school board.

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