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State Finds Half Of Bridgeport Schools Don’t Have Enough Special Education Teachers; We Found Other Districts With The Same Issue

Staff shortages have perplexed high-poverty districts throughout Connecticut for years. That’s because districts like Bridgeport struggle to keep their teachers from leaving for suburban districts, where the pay is often higher and class sizes smaller.

Almost a month into this school year, Bridgeport still has 16 special education teaching positions it needs to fill. Statewide, between 95 and 250 teaching positions go unfilled each year. Most are in high-poverty districts.

An analysis of state data by Connecticut Public shows that while the number of children with disabilities has increased significantly over the last 10 school years, staffing in high-poverty districts has not kept pace.

The impact this shortage is having on students in one of those high-poverty districts is outlined in the state Department of Education’s recent investigation into Bridgeport that found shortfalls in special education staffing in more than half the schools. The department’s investigation was brought on by a group of parents who filed a complaint against the district.

Read and listen to the full story here.