Teacher shortage: Data shows which Maine districts have vacancies

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 6:28 PM EDT
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Maine (WMTW) - The nationwide shortage of educators is impacting school districts in Maine.

With just weeks remaining until students return to the classroom, numerous school districts are sharing the number of staff vacancies they have.

On Wednesday, the Maine Education Association shared with Maine’s Total Coverage a breakdown of staffing data self-reported by 16 districts.

Percentage of open positions:

  • Lewiston: 3.71%, Open positions: 186
  • RSU 17 - Oxford Hills: 2.65%, Open positions: 85
  • Bangor: 2.00%, Open positions: 69
  • RSU 75 - Topsham: 1.84%, Open positions: 44
  • RSU 9 - Mount Blue: 1.65%, Open positions: 37
  • Biddeford: 1.38%, Open positions: 32
  • RSU 49 - Fairfield: 1.37%, Open positions: 26
  • Falmouth: 1.20%, Open positions: 24
  • SAD 6 - Bonny Eagle: 1.15%, Open positions: 38
  • Auburn: 1.13%, Open positions: 36
  • RSU 54 - Skowhegan: 1.04%, Open positions: 23
  • RSU 14 - Windham Raymond: 0.71%, Open positions: 22
  • Portland: 0.59%, Open positions: 38
  • RSU 39 - Caribou: 0.42%, Open positions: 5

MEA President Grace Leavitt called the situation “alarming.”

“It’s a shortage of making those jobs doable, making the compensation what it needs to be, having the respect for the profession that is due,” Leavitt said.

Leavitt also claimed the association has seen a larger number of educators leave the profession before retirement age in recent years.

“Compensation is the No. 1 issue in terms of attracting qualified people to the profession, and then, of course, there are things like workload which is only exacerbated by greater shortages,” Leavitt added.

With the Maine Educator Summit getting underway in Augusta Monday, the Department of Education was not able to discuss the issue but agreed Maine is impacted by the teacher shortage.

“The Department is focused on several initiatives to recruit, retain, and support a vibrant educator workforce in our state. We are in the midst of the DOE’s 2nd annual Educator Summit which is one of those efforts,” DOE communications manager Marcus Mrowka said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the DOE launched, Teach Maine, an effort to recruit, retain and support the state’s education workforce.