Many Colorado school districts short-staffed for new school year, survey says

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DENVER | A survey from the Colorado School Finance Project shows that the majority of school districts in Colorado have unfilled staff positions this school year.

The Project, a nonprofit that collects data on school finance for policymakers, sent out a survey to all school districts in the state earlier in August and received 104 responses. There are 178 districts total in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

Of the respondents, 77.88% said they have between 0 and 10 unfilled positions for the 2021-2022 school year. Another 4.81% each reported having between 11-20 and 21-30 unfilled positions, and 12.5% of respondents reported having over 30 unfilled positions.

The most unfilled positions are teachers and paraprofessionals, according to a news release. At minimum, there are 217 unfilled teacher positions and 256 unfilled paraprofessional positions, it said.

Transportation services are also short-staffed, with the survey finding more than 65% of districts are short on employees in that sector.

The survey did not release any data on individual school districts. The Cherry Creek School District participated in the survey, Colorado School Finance Project director Tracie Rainey told the Sentinel in response to an inquiry, Aurora Public Schools did not.