Anoka-Hennepin School District faces special education staffing shortage

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The largest school district in the state is making changes to its special education program because it doesn’t have enough teachers.

Monday night, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board decided to temporarily close one of its learning centers due to a shortage of special ed teachers.

Anoka-Hennepin Schools Associate Superintendent Becky Brodeur has had more than two decades of experience in education. She tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that finding special ed teachers is her biggest challenge.

“Often times we would have two or three-hundred applicants for a single teaching position and now we’re lucky if we have two or three,” Brodeur said. “Those are positions that require specific training and skill.”

Due to a shortage of special ed teachers, the district decided to temporarily close the River Trail Learning Center at Verndale in Anoka Monday night and move a handful of kids to another location this school year.

“With staffing shortages and concerns we’re being really creative in trying to find any solution we can to make sure that we meet our district’s mission of effectively educating each student for success,” Brodeur said.

There are currently about 250 openings at the district, about one-third are for special ed teaching positions.

“We would have loved to have all of our opened positions filled yesterday,” Brodeur said. “If there are people that are looking for positions, Anoka-Hennepin is hiring.”

About 99% of the positions in the district are filled, but with classes starting in two weeks, the district is running out of time to find that 1%.