State requirements for teachers create hurdles for top districts - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

State requirements for teachers create hurdles for top districts

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The first day of school ever at Esmond Station K through 8 on Monday had parents and students excited.

"I learned new things," said second grader Miles Breen.

"We used toothpicks and marshmallows and made like a tower," said fourth grader Bradley Breen.

"Kids are amazing.  And the things that they do, they'll step up to any challenge set forth," said their mother, Jessica Breen.

The use of technology and new approaches to education are typical in Vail School District, as is its year-round schedule.  But state requirements for certification add to teachers' out-of-pocket expenses when pay is already at about $32,000 to $33,000 to start, which has superintendent Calvin Baker concerned.

"Not only are we unable to pay a truly competitive wage, but, yes, the state has put hurdles, unnecessary hurdles, n the way of teachers, especially from other states coming here," Baker said.

Vail still had some open teaching spots on its first day.  Jessica Breen used to teach in the district, and taught in Illinois a couple years before that.  She said that she knows Arizona faces challenges but expects it to still attract those who want to be here.

"I found in Illinois that it was pretty comparable. I think that Arizona just has some challenges in the legislature and we're definitely not the only ones but we have great teachers here and they keep coming, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that eventually everything else falls into place too," she said.

Baker added that the situation creates competition among Arizona public school districts for certified teachers.  Charters aren't required to have certified teachers.

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