Lansing School District faces staffing shortages, plans to increase hiring

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The Lansing School Board of Education meeting on March 8, 2024.

It is not a secret that Michigan school districts face a staffing shortage, and the Lansing School District is no exception.  

At the Feb. 8 district board of education meeting, Superintendent Ben Shuldiner urged people to continue to apply for teaching roles and other positions within the district. 

“One place we are still struggling in, as many school districts are, is with hiring,” Shuldiner said. “We know sometimes people think ‘well the only job a school district has is a teacher’, well that’s not true. We have 15 hundred plus employees that do a myriad of things.”   

Andrew Utter, Lansing School District’s recruitment and retention specialist, said that there is a declining number of people who are certified to teach, and a lack of people interested in paraprofessional roles.  

Paraprofessionals are staff members in the district who provide support to the school’s teachers by working with students individually or with small groups.  

“They (Paraprofessionals) are crucial to a student’s safe day at school, especially if a kid has IEPs (Individualized Education Plans); right now, the number of people interested in those roles is really declining.”  

To resolve some of these problems, Utter said that the district is implementing new ways of hiring. One method is an application platform that puts the district’s job postings out on more sites.  

“In the two weeks since we’ve implemented that, the number of applications that we’ve had both for this year as well as for next year is skyrocketing,” Utter said.  

Utter also said that one of the best ways the district keeps staffing numbers high is by focusing on the people who already work in the district.   

“We have a ton of programs to pay for a lot of our own employees to help them continue to become teachers. We believe that that will always and forever be the best form of fully staffing our schools,” Utter said.  

The staffing shortage in schools is not confined to Lansing, however.  According to the Michigan Teacher Shortage Study: 2024 Report released by the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC), districts throughout the state continue to face teacher vacancies due to people switching districts or schools, or leaving the profession entirely. This is also known as “attrition.” 

(Kilbride, Tara, et al. Education Policy Innovation Collaborative, Michigan Teacher Shortage Study: 2024 Report.)

Data from the Michigan Teacher Shortage Study: 2024 Report shows that the rate of teacher attrition has been higher in 2022-23 than any year since 2012-13.

Madeline Mavrogordato, associate professor of K-12 educational administration at Michigan State University, said that districts like Lansing face more shortages than other schools because it is common for teachers to start in a district with possible lower achievement outcomes and then move to other districts after a few years. 

“Districts that serve the students with the largest set of obstacles, those are the districts that face the highest rates of teacher turnover,” Mavrogordato said. 

Mavrogordato also said that Michigan is different from other states regarding the teacher shortage because of its low starting teacher salaries. 

“When you compare the starting teacher salaries of our state compared to other states, we are low…For somebody who has a bachelor’s degree to earn 35 thousand a year, it makes it really hard to go into teaching,” Mavrogordato said.  

Even though the Lansing School District faces obstacles surrounding the state-wide teaching shortage, it is continuing its hiring efforts to increase staffing and fill the vacant positions.  

To learn more about the school district, visit  

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