For Immediate Release - September 11, 2000
Anastasia Burton, Press Secretary (406) 444-5523
Erik Burke, Education Policy Advisor (406) 444-3111
(Helena) -- During a briefing in the Governor's Office today, the Governor's Task Force on Teacher Shortages/Salaries submitted a final report and set of recommendations to Governor Racicot to address Montana's projected teacher shortages. Concluding that "a teacher shortage does, in fact, exist in Montana," the task force report outlines a variety of state policy proposals aimed at mitigating the current demand for qualified teachers in Montana.
Specifically, the task force recommends that the state of Montana:
Governor Racicot appointed the 12 member Task Force on Teacher Shortage/Salaries in April of this year. Since then, the task force has met three times and has engaged in a series of discussions related to the causes and potential solutions of Montana's current and projected teacher shortages. Governor Racicot expressed his appreciation of the task force's work and stated his desire to "reach as far as possible to implement several of the recommendations outlined today."
The Governor also expressed his interest in several task force findings that point to salaries, an aging teaching population, and Montana's remoteness as causal factors behind Montana's current teacher shortage. "Clearly, Montana has significant hurdles that must be overcome if we are to compete in an increasingly competitive market for competent, qualified educators," he observed.
In addition to salaries, retirements, and remoteness, the report points to a number of other factors that contributed to the current decline in available educators in Montana. They include:
In the next several weeks, Governor Racicot will determine which, if any, of the task force's recommendations he will submit as a part of his administration's proposed budget for the 2002-2003 biennium.