SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois hired more than 5,000 new teachers in the past fiscal year.
Preliminary data shows the state added 5,676 teachers. That's more in a single year than in the past five years combined.
The statewide teacher vacancy rate has also reached a low point of 1.5%
As of right now, Illinois schools still have more than 2,100 unfilled teaching positions. The Illinois State Board of Education said the remaining vacancies are concentrated in low-income and chronically struggling schools.
"The data show Illinois has accomplished tremendous success in strengthening the teacher pipeline in Illinois and attracting the best and the brightest to this incredible profession," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. "We still have work to do to ensure each and every student has well-supported educators in all their classes. Our low-income, bilingual, and special education students have the least access to the teachers they need to grow and thrive. Our solutions as a state must continue to be grounded in equity. We have accomplished so much in reducing barriers to licensure, and now we must continue to focus on building local pipelines of talent for hard-to-staff schools and subjects."
Nearly 40% of all teacher vacancies reported were in special education or bilingual education, ISBE said.