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Colorado pupil-to-teacher ratio remains steady during educator shortage

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Tom Gantert

(The Center Square) – Teacher shortage claims in Colorado's public schools were made as far back as 2015. But the pupil-to-teacher ratio in 2022-23 was among the lowest in 10 years, as the number of teachers has remained steady while enrollment has dropped.

Colorado's pupil-to-teacher ratio of 17.1 in 2022-23 was the second lowest rate dating back to 2013. It was the same as last year's ratio. Only in 2020-21, the first year of the pandemic, was the ratio lower at 16.6.

In 2014-15 and 2015-16, the ratio was 17.5. The highest year was 17.7 in 2013-14, according to data from the Colorado Department of Education.

The number of teachers in the state has remained relatively the same over the past four years. There were 55,197 teachers in 2022-23. The number of teachers the past four school years ranged from the low of 55,197 this past school year to a peak of 55,842 in 2020-21.

Enrollment in Colorado's public schools reached 913,223 in 2019-20, but has dropped during the pandemic. There were 883,264 students this past school year in 2022-23.

The Colorado Department of Education does an "educator shortage" survey every year, as required by law.

The 2022-23 survey reported that of the 55,399 teaching positions in the state, 8,294 of the positions – or 15 percent – had to be filled that year. That included teachers who switched schools, new teachers and veteran teachers who came from out of state.

Of the 8,294 positions that needed to be filled, 722 remained unfilled throughout the school year.

The survey reported that there was a statewide shortage in filling special-education teaching position.