INDIANA (WEHT) – Due to shortages for special education teachers, the state of Indiana may be making some alterations to the program.

“We’re nearing a collapse on the current trajectory because of personnel shortages,” Angie Balsley, president of the Indiana Council of Administrators of Special Education, said.

To help fill the gap, the state and school districts have set aside millions of dollars to train more special education teachers. One pathway will offer a bridge for teachers whose emergency permits are expiring, while another focuses on working paraprofessionals. But the programs will take one to four years to bring in classroom-ready teachers, leaving concerns that schools simply can’t find enough people to hire.

Substitutes were once able to fill vacancies, said Balsley, but finding them has been more challenging as schools need to fill in for educators out because of COVID. She said the general demand for workers, low wages, and a negative public perception of teaching also discourage people from choosing a career in education.

With about 1,200 educators set to lose emergency permits after this school year, the state will grant provisional teacher status to those who are seeking full licensure. Those permits will allow them to remain in the classroom for three years while working toward their license, according to the state Department of Education.

For more information about what is causing the lack in teachers, especially special ed, please go here.