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Bellevue Superintendent: Teacher Shortage Pits Districts Against Each Other

The shortage of qualified teachers in the state is reaching Northern Kentucky, causing concern for some districts.

"I attribute the lack of interest in education directly to the political push for privatization," said Bellevue Independent Schools Superintendent Robb Smith. "The political action of the attacks on pensions, the name calling of the teachers by the governor intentionally creates upheaval. If I am a college student, I am going to think twice about becoming a teacher."

He stated that the Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Wayne Lewis has said publicly that nothing is attributable to the political climate, but districts are feeling differently.

The result is a shortage of teachers.

"What we may be facing is a situation where the teachers want to jump jobs," said Smith. "It will pit school district against school district, and that's a cutthroat business none of us want."

Smith said the higher paying schools will be where the teachers want to be.

"The inequity in education is more pronounced because of politics," Smith said. "It isn't fair to the children. Public education is the foundation of democracy."

Smith said the district is still trying to fill three positions, mainly in special education and science.

Meanwhile, in Bellevue, construction on the new facade of the high school building is coming alone, but Smith said progress is slow. 

He said with the renovation of the older building, made to be more accessible, this district has also updated the security, making everything more secure for the students.  The district has not decided on an automatic background check system, like Raptor, yet, because it is looking at several options.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Work continues at Bellevue High School (RCN)