- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2016

HAVRE, Mont. (AP) - A shortage of teachers in northern Montana has officials worried after superintendents from three rural Montana districts told the Montana University Board of Regents that teachers are unwilling to relocate to northern Montana and school officials have problems filling primary and secondary school teacher positions.

One school official says he’s looking for applicants who understand the region because many potential teachers from outside the area have a hard time adjusting to working in small schools.

The superintendents told the regents that a teacher prep program at Montana State University-Northern has helped immensely.

Superintendent Andy Carlson, of Havre, said filling positions often comes at the expense of other districts trying to find teachers.

“It’s a struggle to try and find people to replace our folks,” Carlson said. “I am stealing math teachers. I am stealing English teachers, and then I look across the table, and it’s from the folks that are my colleagues,” he said.

Superintendent Rene Rasmussen, of Bainville, said her northeastern Montana school district has trouble even finding qualified teachers at career fairs in western North Dakota.

Carlson said more than half of his teaching staff comes from Montana State University-Northern, the Havre Daily News reported (https://tinyurl.com/hwyyfo9 ).

Superintendent Brad Moore, of Big Sandy, said there are not enough students coming from the university to keep up with the needs of schools. “For most of the jobs, we feel fortunate to get one qualified applicant,” Moore said.

Moore said that his district has offered candidates for positions such benefits as a four-day school week, health benefits and a competitive salary, and candidates are still not willing to accept positions in rural areas.

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Information from: Havre Daily News, https://www.havredailynews.com


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