PORTLAND, Ore. — In less than a month, students and teachers will be on summer break following another school year impacted by the coronavirus.
But by the fall, how many teachers will return?
KATU's Project Education started contacting school districts in the greater Portland area, inquiring about the expected number of retirements and resignations that local districts are facing.
And while the Oregon Education Association outlined concerns over a possible exodus of educators at the end of the year, some districts that are struggling to balance an ongoing exodus of students are suggesting the impact will not be that large.
Despite contacting nearly a dozen school districts in and around Portland and SW Washington, only two districts were able to provide specifics on staff expectations.
The Beaverton School District has seen a steady increase in retirements through the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, 109 district employees had retired. At the end of the 2020-21 school year, that number was up to 166.
And so far by the end of the 2021-22 school year, Beaverton Schools said 181 employees are expected to retire from their positions, a 62% increase from two years before.
**EDITOR'S NOTE** Beaverton School District initially shared information indicating that the above numbers were for the total teachers retiring each school year. They have since corrected that to say the numbers are for the total employees retiring.
Meanwhile, in the Parkrose School District, the superintendent is anticipating that roughly "5% to 8%" of educators plan to "transition out of the teaching role."
We will continue to update this story as we hear from more school districts, many of which did not return our requests for information or comment before deadline.
Meanwhile, the Portland Public School District is still gathering that information but addressed the issue of departing educators during a recent roundtable discussion with the media, which came shortly after the board approved a new $1.89 billion budget.
"Every spring we're in the business of recruiting staff into vacant positions,' said Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.
As a part of its newly-approved budget, the district will be keeping 74 teacher positions it had previously expected to eliminate because of budget cuts.
In addition, Guerrero said the district will be emphasizing efforts to recruit the top educators in the region to work in Portland.
"School districts are made up of people, and the talent they bring to working with students. As a professional learning organization that's what we're working on to ensure that we bring in and maintain high-quality people."
But additionally, the district said it will need to balance its budget in the wake of an enrollment drop of roughly 8%, a claim that the Portland Association of Teachers contended as a "false conclusion."
The Evergreen School District in Southwest Washington told KATU that while it is tracking resignations and retirements, due to recent budget cuts - made less significant by a recently approved levy - the district still needed to cut roughly 70 teaching positions.
We will update this story as we gather more educator resignation and retirement statistics from local school districts.